Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Old Mass Explained

“Je suis protestant… I am a Protestant and I would like you to tell me – what is the Mass? I go to it every day but understand nothing”. – “Yes, I have seen you at the back of the chapel. I thought you were a Jew”. – “No, I am a Protestant. I have attended our Protestant services. They are very beautiful: they speak constantly there about Jesus”. – “That’s it”, replied Hippolyte, “there they talk about Jesus. They are surely very beautiful. But it is not the Mass. You see, the Mass IS Jesus”. He hesitated a moment, then continued: “You see, God was made flesh in order to redeem us on the cross. At the Last Supper, He left us His Body and His Blood under the appearances of bread and wine, as pledges of our Redemption, That is the Mass: the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. Before such an act, there is nothing to do or to say. One can only be silent. I would love to join you at the back of the chapel”.
— quoted in R. Michael McGrade, The Rejected Priest

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monsieur Dileut's Story

My father and mother were both French. So am I, although I was born in London. My elder sister was born in Paris but I scarcely remember her. She died quite young of leukemia. My younger brother was born in London like me but was killed in the war, fighting for the Free French.

My father was the London agent for a Parisian manufacturer of costume jewelry. It did not make him rich but we lacked for nothing. We had our own freehold house in Islington. In those days it was not fashionable. I took over my father's business about fifteen years ago.

Father was a practicing Catholic. It was he who taught us our catechism and took us to Mass each Sunday. We thought that he was, perhaps, a bit scrupulous or Jansenistic as he never went to Communion. However, he always went on retreat with the Jesuits during the first week in Lent, when we presumed that he made his Easter Duties. He was fairly strict but immensely gentle. I do not remember my father ever being angry.

Mother was very different. She was a good mother to us and I don't want to say anything against her. But she was bitterly anti-Catholic and anti-clerical. Poor dear, she was a bitter woman altogether. She subscribed to several anti-clerical French rags. She used to cut out any particularly scandalous tit-bits and put them on Father's plate for breakfast. He always read them carefully, thanked Mother for keeping him informed and stuck them in an album. I have found it. It's the thick album on the bottom shelf over there.

Mother died in October 1964 without seeing a priest. She was buried civilly as she had wished. Father immediately sold the house. I was married, of course, and was already living in my present house in Bayswater. Father simply vanished. Once he sent me a postcard from Paris but with no address. That was all. A year later, in November 1965, he sent me a charming letter to say that he had built himself this bungalow at Chalfont and hoped that I, wife and children would call on him on Christmas afternoon as he could not give us a meal.

We turned up. You may have noticed that this bungalow has a surprisingly large hall for so small a house. To save us the trouble of trying the doors, he pointed out that they were locked! It was the same when we came at Easter and All Saints – la Toussaint is a big feast in France. In fact I never saw the inside of this bungalow until after my Father's death. While we were there for the Toussaint he invited us back for Christmas. He said that he hoped to have something very important to tell us.

However, three weeks later, on November 23rd, the police rang up. It was fairly early in the morning as I had not yet gone to the office. The milkman had reported that the milk had not been collected at the bungalow for a couple of days and there was no answer to the bell. The police had forced the door and had found my father dead. They would like me to see the body as they had found it before they did anything else. I shot out to Chalfont straight away, fortunately without Mary, my wife. I called at the police station. A very amiable sergeant accompanied me. For the first time I penetrated the bungalow beyond the hall. The sergeant unlocked that little door over there and switched on the lights. As you probably noticed, the room has no window. It was a tiny chapel. Crouched over a prie dieu in front of the altar, fully vested in chasuble and the rest, was a priest. It was the corpse of my father.

You can imagine my sentiments better than I can describe them.

I shall not bore you with the details except to say that he had finished Mass when he died. The veil was on the chalice, the corporal was in the burse, the cruets were empty and the candles had been blown out. He must have felt too weak to unvest, have gone straight to the prie dieu and died.

Later I found on his desk a thick envelope addressed to me. The top page was a very affectionate letter postdated the Christmas which never came. The rest was a precis of his life. It was doubtless what he had referred to on All Saints' Day. The precis is not without interest.

My father was born in 1883 and was therefore eighty-three when he died. His real name was du Teil, of which Dileut is an anagram. His family was traditional and very devout. From earliest childhood he, like his parents, took it for granted that he would become a priest.

Already at St. Sulpice – his seminary – his piety had veered toward activism. He says that he was not strictly a "modernist" but was deeply affected by the works of Laberthonnière. He kept this to himself so as not to be expelled.

He was ordained just before his twenty-fourth birthday at Pentecost, 1907. The decree Lamentabili against modernism was issued in July that same year. A little later the works of his hero, Laberthonnière, were placed on the Index.

With the fervour of a young man he wrote articles attacking the whole policy of Pius X in Naudet's Justice Sociale and Dabry's La Vie Catholique. Both were condemned in the following year, 1908.

He then joined up with Marc Sagnier and Le Sillon. By this time he thought of himself as a "christian Socialist" rather than a "socialist Christian."

When Le Sillon was condemned in 1910 he took to writing under diverse pseudonyms virulent attacks against Pius X in the non-Catholic press. Some of these were eventually pinned down to him. Upon his refusal to retract he was defrocked and excommunicated in 1913.

He lived by his pen until he was called up for the war. Incidentally, all those reviews in the book-case over there contain his articles. The rest of the books must form the most complete collection of modernist and Sillonist literature in private hands. It had been stored in Paris. Doubtless we had not been allowed in the bungalow in case we saw it.

He married mother, civilly of course, in 1916. She was an ex-Trappistine nun. They had met at a sort of club for defrocked priests in Paris, rue des Écoles. My sister was born the next year.

By the end of the war and after a year at Verdun, Loisy, Laberthonnière, Dabry, even Marc Sagnier all seemed very far away. He was also helped by his sergeant, who was a distinguished Jesuit. He regained the piety of his childhood. But he was excommunicated and had a wife and daughter.

On demobilization he found that he could not live in Paris. Thanks to a cousin he got his job in London. I was born there in 1920 and my brother in 1923.

When mother died father set about rehabilitating himself as a priest. It took endless time. Paris, his diocese of origin, passed the buck to Aylesbury, his diocese of domicile, and vice versa. I have found all the correspondence. I shall not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that the delay was not caused by difficulties over his excommunication and marriage. It was caused by my father's own obstinacy. Indeed, he was as stubborn as he was gentle.

He had been excommunicated under two principal headings: firstly for maintaining modernist propositions; secondly for using the vernacular and innovating in the rite of the Mass. Father refused to accept the lifting of excommunication unless he abjured its causes: he insisted that he take an anti-modernist oath at the hands of the bishop and that he celebrate Mass according to the rite in use prior to his excommunication.

As you can imagine, there was much pooh-poohing. The anti-modernist oath had been abolished and the immemorial Mass was undergoing monthly changes. Finally, however, in view of father's age, the bishop of Aylesbury had the courtesy to give in. He came to Chalfont and administered the oath in front of two witnesses on Wednesday, November 16th [1966].

Knowing my father as I do, I am certain that he would have prepared himself scrupulously for his second "First Mass." He would not have presumed to jump to the altar, but waited for the Lord's Day. (Besides, only one host was missing from a box of fifty.) The Mass after which he died must have been the first he had said in fifty-three years. God rest his soul!

—Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 197–200.

On Fr. Martin D'Arcy, S.J.

Edmund did not answer straight away. When he did it was in a gentler voice. "Poor Father Martin, the most refined thinker the society has produced this century. They leave him alone if he keeps his mouth shut but jeer at him if he dares to open it. Dear Father Martin, his suppression is even more callous than that of Beaumont. I have not seen him since we returned from Rome."
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 185.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thanks to the council

The real trouble lay deeper. Up till now the Dower House had contained a wonderfully united family. The cause and focal point of this unity had been its religion. The marriage had been due to it, as also the existence of Richard and George. The years of continence and the attempt at the "safe period" would have been impossible without a religious motive. Above all, their reciprocal trust and esteem was grounded in their common religion. Richard, too, had so far grown up with the undivided example of his parents. That was all wonderful and gave rise to the undefinable sentiment called happiness.

Thanks to the council – and Judith had not the slightest doubt where to lay the blame – all that had vanished. The Dower House contained a divided family. Religion was no longer the cause of unity but of dissent. And this must be happening in hundreds of thousands of families throughout the world. Doubtless each family had different problems but all had been held together by the internal, intrinsic grip of their religion. As Judith meditated on these things she could foresee that Catholic decrees of nullity would soon be as common as non-Catholic divorces. That brought her to a halt. Would she and Edmund get divorced? It was unthinkable! No, since the council, nothing was unthinkable. Anyway, for the sake of an illusory ecumenism – or so it was said – the council had shattered the only true unity in the world, that of the Catholic Faith. And along with that unity all lesser, dependent unities had been cracked if not broken asunder.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 181–182.

Crucifix and Microphone

Aren't you coming? she asked.

No, I cannot stand it, was the reply. The crucifix is no longer there and I fail to see why I should adore a microphone. I shall go straight to the Treasury. For the first time at Holy Cross Judith went to Mass alone. It hurt her.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 178.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Altars Do Furnish a Room

"Thanks! Yes, that will do fine." Mr. Brack hesitated for a moment and then continued. "I take it, Mister, that you are a Catholic. Perhaps you can explain something to me. You see, I'm a Jew and don't understand. I've always had a good line in religious art: I like it myself. Well, up to about three years ago Catholic fathers were among my best customers. Prices ran high. You could not buy a decent ivory crucifix for love nor money. Well, I've got drawers full of 'em. I give between £20 and £30 for them to take 'em off the market. You see that magnificent Louis XV sideboard over there? Well, it isn't a sideboard; it's an altar. I sold it to a reverend about ten years ago for £500 when that was a lot of money. Six months ago the same reverend came back and begged me to give him £200 for it. I did. I've mucked it up a bit to make it a sideboard and shall set it for £3,000. What puzzles me is that in most cases it's the same father. Take your reverend at Walhamford. Why do you think he contacted me to get rid of the stuff in his church? Because a few years ago he bought that off me."

"That" was an embroidery of Our Lady after a Sassoferrato in the Louvre. It was not Edmund's taste but the workmanship was astonishing. Mr. Brack continued:

"When he sold the church stuff, he threw that in with it and asked me to give him a good price for it. 'Look here, Reverend,' I said, 'I can't. Nobody wants Madonnas now, not even you reverends. As a special favour I'll give you a tenner for it, but I'll probably have to chuck it in with the lot.' That's your father at Walthamford. They used to buy expensively and now they chuck it out. Later they'll be blaming the bloody Jews for making money out of them."

"My dear Mr. Brack, it is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. All I can say is that the Catholic clergy is suffering from collective lunacy. Incidentally, I shall buy the embroidery of the Madonna as well."

No you won't. I'll give it to you as permanent evidence of the collective lunacy."

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 176–177.

A Vision of the Modern Church

In the middle of the church was a trestle table with a white oil-cloth covering on which stood a microphone. The chairs surrounded the trestle table except on the sanctuary side, where a wide passage was left containing two cheap-jack lecterns surmounted by more microphones. The ex-sanctuary, which was raised, contained Mr. and Mrs. Butterworth, more microphones and some odd bodies who turned out to form the choir. The Blessed Sacrament was nowhere apparent.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 172.

Another Pope—Another Audience?

His Holiness then moved on to the Far Easterners. One of the two old men did the talking, the other nodding assent. The young man was the interpreter. Judith was deeply struck by both of the old gentlemen. Refinement and dignity must still exist in the East although difficult to locate in the West. Unfortunately, she could not hear. The translator spoke very quickly in a soft as well as a low-pitched voice. It was clear that things were not going too well. She could hear odd words of Paul VI: trust, obedience, peace. The nodder started to cry. The nodder fell on his knees and gesticulated with his wonderfully neat oriental hands. The translator gave up. Testastorta pulled the Pope's elbow. The orientals knelt as he gave them his blessing but the nodder was up like a bullet and said in broken French: "Take this! At least take this!" He produced a document. It was too late; the Pope and Testastorta had already turned to the Roughams. But the flunky took the document.

The Pope and the monsignor came forward to about halfway between the easterners and the Roughams. They stopped and Judith could hear Testastorta say to the Pope: "They are of no interest – sono degli integristis inglesi – they are English traditionalists." The Pope took another step forward but Testastorta was too quick for him. He left the Pope and came straight at Edmund: "The Holy Father is behind schedule, but I shall see to it that he is made acquainted with your observations. Please kneel for the papal blessing." They obeyed. He waved to the Pope to give his blessing. He obeyed. Pope, monsignor and flunky disappeared through the door to the Rougham's right.

So that was that.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 168–169.

From the canon's moan

"Yes, Mrs. Rougham, I feel deeply indebted to my parishioners. God has given me so much through them. It is not for my own sake that I refuse the new outlook. It is for theirs. I simply do not accept that they have been wrong merely because they have been poor, stupid, uncritical, childish. It is my unshakable belief that these are precisely the reasons they are right. Rather than criticize them even by implication I should prefer to die…"
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 162–163.

"Ah! Mrs. Rougham, the confessions of children are quite wonderful."

"You know, it is hard at my time of life to see all my work undone, my hopes shattered, my loves derided. You were right, Mr. Rougham, not to let me build that school. It would not have been my crowning achievement but my crowning disappointment. I have built three schools in my time. I visited one of them last month. The spirit was gone. At ten the children do not know their prayers and catechism. There is no school Mass or school confessions. Ah! Mrs. Rougham, the confessions of children are quite wonderful. Even if they tell fibs in the confessional, it is somehow beautifully transparent. The tragedy is less that children no longer confess than that priests no longer hear them. The priests could learn so much…"
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 162.

On Raising Doubts

If Edmund knew what was right and wrong without a special commission, how came it that the Pope did not? Anyway, until the commission reported and the Pope pronounced, would there not be doubt in a million minds? The Church existed to solve doubts. Had she the right to raise them?
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 153.

Episcopal Porn

But what most astonished and depressed Edmund was what he called episcopal porn: the constant harping on sex. Marriage was all the rage, with married deacons and hopefully married priests. But there was much doubt as to what marriage was. The more vociferous bishops were quite sure that it had nothing to do with the procreation of children but was "the expression of conjugal love." And it was made quite clear what that meant: contraception would not merely be allowed but would be virtuous if it helped to preserve "conjugal love." Edmund wondered if pederastic and lesbian marriages would be encouraged. Homosexuals showed lots of conjugal love and did not even require the pill. Indeed, they were helping to curb the population explosion. That was bad enough, but what depressed Edmund most was not what Cardinals Léger and Suenens might say on the subject but that the propaganda in favor of episcopal porn appeared to be orchestrated by an Englishman, a gentleman and a Jesuit: one Archbishop Thomas Roberts, retired archbishop of Bombay, whose Mass he had served many times as a boy at Beaumont. Later he had often met him socially. That was perhaps his trouble: he was too social.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 151.

"I too know what it is to obey authority"

Edmund was a cradle Catholic and Jesuit-educated to boot. He was inured to ecclesiastical discipline. He was like the centurion in Matthew VIII: "I too know what it is to obey authority; I have soldiers under me, and I say, 'go,' to one man, and he goes, or, 'come,' to another,and he comes." That was all very well so long as the officers themselves did not question the system. But that was precisely what the bishops were doing during the third session from September 15th to November 21st. The haggling over their own collegiality, over the sources of revelation, over the nature of the Church, was upon analysis no more than questioning authority: that of the Church, of the Pope, of divine revelation. If the centurion did not obey, there was no reason why the soldier should. Like any other chain, the chain of command is no stronger than its weakest link.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 151.

His Eyes Are on the Congregation

As she drove home, Judith could not help feeling how tragic it was that the priest had lost his anonymity. Of old, his personality and mannerisms simply had not mattered. In future they would matter enormously. It was all right for her, Judith, because she could drive round and pick her own priest. In which connection, thank God for old Slattery! But not so Reverend Mother; her daily Mass was indissolubly tied to enduring Father Mallon's idiosyncrasies.

But it was not only the priest who had lost his anonymity, so had the congregation. The faithful were meant to be up and doing, to participate, to express their personalities and be conscious of the community around them. Of old, the Mass provided almost the only time and place in all the world where one could get away from oneself, get lost. The expressions "lost in prayer," "lost in wonder," "lost in adoration" and the like are perfectly accurate. Of old, distractions had been the problem. Now, distraction was organized and continuous. The problem had become how to get lost.

It was not only lost of personal anonymity which worried Judith but that of the congregation as an entity. How vividly she remembered her first Mass at St. Aloysius's over seven years ago: the boisterous family with the kids with sticky sweets; the rosaries and The Garden of the soul; its utter theocentricity focused on the the Real Presence. It did not matter what the congregation did or who composed it. It would not have mattered had there been none at all. The congregation was as anonymous as Father McEnery. Its astonishing unity did not spring from human activity but from human surrender.

But the anonymity of the congregation had vanished completely. If Judith could complain of Father Mallon's idiosyncrasies, he must feel even more justified in complaining about his congregation. Nuns, parents, children, strays, were they playing their part properly? Luckily, he was facing them to make sure they did. But who was that fellow who did not follow the gym? Why could not people speak up? Was that woman shouting on purpose? Who the hell was bashing a rosary against the bench? And so on. Judith began to feel sorry for Father Mallon. Yes, poor Father Mallon; it was not really his fault. Anyway, she would put up with him for Reverend Mother's sake. She would turn up as usual on Saturday.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 136–137.

There Was a Revolution

The Constitution on the Liturgy seemed to Judith a perfectly reasonable document. Latin and the Immemorial Mass were preserved; a few harmless changes were permitted. In January 1964 Paul VI issued a motu proprio fixing the parts of the Mass to be said in the vernacular: the introductory psalm, the epistle, the Gospel and the like. At Holy Cross, old Canon Slattery stuck to the Latin, however. At the convent, Father Mallon used English, but it was perfectly tolerable once a week.

In September 1964 a new instruction was issued allowing the whole of Mass in the vernacular apart from the canon. It was to come into force on the first Sunday in Advent, November 29th. Judith knew nothing about it as she had stopped taking Catholic papers in the previous June. Canon Slattery had not mentioned it from the pulpit. Reverend Mother had not thought of telling her about it.

On Saturday, December 5th, Judith went to Mass as usual at the convent. She could not believe her eyes or ears. The altar had been moved forward by four or five feet. The tabernacle had been shifted and placed in a corner to the left on a tall, rickety Victorian stand with spindly legs such as convents seem to collect. It had previously supported an aspidistra. There was no crucifix. In its place stood a microphone. It looked like a serpent coming up from the bowels of the earth and rearing its ugly head to hiss at the priest.

Father Mallon tripped in. Judith had always avoided looking at him. But there he was, exactly where the Blessed Sacrament had been. To Judith's eyes the sight was unpleasant: the carefully pomaded hair, the protruding eyes with their condescending stare, the large sniffling nose, the precise little mouth with its deprecatory twist, the podgy hands.

It is common experience that the less pleasant the personality the more its possessor wishes to impose it. Father Mallon was no exception. All his life he must have been waiting for the new liturgy. In the name of God everybody would have to take a good look at him. All his movements had become significant, whether he waved his silk bandanna about before he blew his nose or made genteel movements with his little finger as he poured the wine into the chalice. It was all didactic, teaching common people how they should behave. That was bad enough, but the sound was infinitely worse. Judith could close her eyes, but she could not close her ears. The microphone seemed to add to the refeenement of his voice. Then, Father Mallon had a nervous sniff. It had not mattered in the old Mass as you could not see the twitch of nose and lip. Now, not only could the twitch be seen but the sniff came over the microphone high, clear, insistent; it compelled attention. He blew his nose, too, in a high tenor which made the microphone crackle. And the refeened voice over all!

After Mass Judith went to have her usual cup of tea with Reverend Mother.

"Good heavens, Reverend Mother," she exclaimed, "has Father Mallon gone crazy?"

"Didn't you know, my dear? Since Sunday last that is how Mass is to be said."

"What! A special decree from the council that all Catholics must look at Father Mallon?"

"That is more or less it, my dear. Of course, Father Mallon is a very clever and well-informed priest. There is nothing about turning the altar round, and the canon should be said in Latin. But Father knows an expert in Rome who says that is what is coming, so he might as well do it now. His lordship the bishop is enthusiastic."

"Well, it's ghastly," said Judith.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 134–135.

"That most wonderful of inventions, the silent Low Mass"

It was still 1963 and 1964. That most wonderful of inventions, the silent Low Mass, really did recharge the battered battery of the human soul. Canon Slattery said it particularly anonymously. His own personality never intruded in the least. He was merely the animator of a set of vestments and manipulator of the sacred tools. Even the parts of the Mass which were said aloud did not bear the idiosyncrasy of his intonation; they were the distant rumble of God's thunder.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 126.

An Ecumenical Service

Although himself a staunch Baptist, the Right Honorable the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mrs. Barker, who have been staying with Brigadier and Mrs. Rougham at Rougham Castle, attended Divine Service at the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Gregory at Rougham on Sunday morning as an ecumenical gesture. The Service was conducted by the Reverend Paul Cromer, priest in charge of the Roman Catholic mission. The Chancellor read the Epistle, which was taken from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. At the offertory Mrs. Barker gave an impressive rendering of Gounod's Ave Maria which was much appreciated by the large congregation. The sermon was preached by Monsignor Philip Pailey, representing the Roman Catholic bishop of Hertford. His text was: 'Outside the Church There is no Salvation,' from which, with an eloquence too rarely heard in our churches today, he showed that all men are members of the same church, 'since all are pilgrims in search of the Absolute Truth we call God.' In a fine outburst of rhetoric he exclaimed: "For too long the Roman Church has proclaimed that she alone is in possession of the whole Truth; that Truth alone has rights; that error has none. At last we begin to realize the dignity of the human person, which transcends accidents of right and wrong. At last we have learned – in the words of the great political thinker Gabriel Monod – 'that the essence of liberty is the liberty of error.'"
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 110.

On Vatican II

I shall judge the present council by one simple statistic: the rise or fall in priestly vocations.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 106.

Archaeology and Tradition

Archaeology is the study of what time has rejected, whereas tradition is precisely what time has preserved.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 105.

A Social or a Political Church?

"And what of the Church, Father? She is ceasing to be social in order to become political. She no longer wants to convert; she wants to liberate. She no longer tries to deal with the infinite moral problems of individuals; she preaches the easier alternative of political revolution. Her ministers have abandoned the fag and fug of the confessional for the excitement of the hustings and the aerials of the media. You no longer seem interested in the internal cohesion of your group – the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – in the infallible moral cohesion which alone can withstand the inviolability of the state. No, you want to swamp the Immaculate Bride in the rising flood of human pollution."
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 103.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Justice vs. Charity

I suppose you hate the Sisters of Charity. You would like to found the Sisters of Justice.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 93.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Is the Pope Catholic?

Edmund roared with laughter. "Of course, if that sort of thing happened, every Catholic would have to protest; but it's impossible. You seem to forget that the Pope and bishops are just as much Catholics as you and I."

"That's the trouble, Edmund: it is not I who forget it, but they. Also, I do not say that these things will come about by positive legislation; they will come about by failure to enforce any condemnation. However, for the moment you have set my mind at rest. Only, instead of the Catholic press, I shall read P. G. Wodehouse and the Bible. They won't annoy me."

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 86.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This could be said of many churches today

If the exterior is impressive, the interior used to be positively beautiful.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 71.

Friday, December 12, 2014

An audience with Pope Pius XII

As the Roughams were a distinguished recusant family which had produced a martyr in the 16th century, a cardinal in the 17th, a venerable in the 18th and, moreover, since Edmund and Judith were newlyweds, a private audience with the Pope had been arranged for them. Unfortunately, they had not known this when they left England, and had not brought the proper clothes – a long-sleeved black evening dress for Judith and tails for Edmund, even though the audience was for 10 o'clock in the morning. They had to hire them. With a tuck here and there, Judith's dress was vaguely presentable, but Edmund's tails were green with age, shiny from cleaning and cut to encompass some important gentleman of more than twice Edmund's girth.

"The Pope must think it awfully funny," said Edmund, "every day to see different faces emerging out of the identical kit."

"I suppose," Judith answered, "he looks upon the laity much as we look upon the priest. It's the same old vestment no matter who's inside."

Anyway, they got there on time and were duly placed in a small antechamber, scarcely more than forty feet wide each way, though which the Pope was to pass. They did not have to wait long. At a sign from a rotund monsignor they fell on their knees. Pope Pius XII appeared.

He was not as tall as he looked in his photographs, but quite as emaciated. The eyes were black and burning. Was it zeal, was it anguish? He had a trick of looking through you, not focusing on you at all. The fine, aquiline nose was not unlike what Edmund's might become at his age. But the mouth! At rest it seemed shapeless and melancholic, almost fish-like, but it could twist into any shape and would suddenly give a smile as innocent as a baby's. Lastly the hands, the most beautiful Judith had ever seen. Edmund had fine, aristocratic hands, but they were not as beautiful as the Pope's.

He came up to them where they knelt, fingering some little cards which doubtless gave him details about the people to whom he was giving audience. His English was quite fluent although it had an unexpected American accent.

"Mr. and Mrs. Rougham. You come from an old recusant family." His eyes unfocused and he looked into eternity. "Your family must have suffered much. You have the Beato Gregorio among your ancestors. It is easy to bear suffering oneself, from moment to moment. But to suffer in your wife, in your children, hopelessly, from generation to generation, this the English Catholics have done. They are dear to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to ours.

"Mrs. Rougham, you are a newlywed. We shall say a special prayer that you are fruitful in children who can bear suffering, who do not flinch at the Cross. Men have stopped looking at the Cross. Priests will turn it out of their churches. You look at it. Teach your children to look at it.

"The persecution of Catholics is finished in England, by the mercy of God, but to suffering there is no end. You will find the enemy within the Church, not without. We see it coming from our exalted position on the summit of the Rock. We can see far from where we stand. You will suffer more than your ancestors, Mr. Rougham, but they must remain an example to you. There is only one nobility in man: suffering nobly borne."

He suddenly broke off, refocused on them and gave them his most beautiful baby smile. "Is there anything special you would like to ask of us?"

Of course they had prepared nothing. They had even forgotten the rosary they had especially bought to be blessed. But Judith was terribly moved and said quite spontaneously: "Yes, Holy Father! You spoke of the Cross. At home we have a crucifix which as been in the family since before the Reformation. In front of it each generation of Roughams has prayed. In a strange way it was the cause of my conversion. I want you to bless it; really bless it. It isn't physically here, but that is what we want you to bless. It has baby angels catching the Precious Blood from the sacred wounds."

The Pope's mouth twitched into a series of strange shapes. He unfocused. There was an appreciable pause. Then: "We do bless it. The arms of that crucifix will ever be outstretched in suffering and in mercy over you. The mercy of God is so incomprehensible to man that it makes us suffer. Yet mercy it is. The angels' little cups of mercy have to be drunk to the dregs in suffering. You will do it. I know you (he dropped into the singular) although I have never seen you before. And you have all my affection, although I shall never see you again. For your part, whenever you are at home, we (he reverted to the plural) command you once day to fall in front of your cross for just one minute in silent adoration, and we grant you a plenary indulgence at the hour of death.

"Now we impart our Apostolic Blessing…"

He laid his hands lightly on their heads. The baby-smile reappeared as he said: "Goodbye, Mr. and Mrs. Rougham – and teach your children to cling to the Cross." He passed into the next antechamber.

Judith and Edmund picked themselves up. They had been kneeling the whole time. They joined hands and waited in silence until they were escorted out of the Vatican into the brilliant midday sun of a cold and clear February day.

"Gosh, what an experience!" said Edmund, which was all either of them could say.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 56–59.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The trouble is not always religion

The tragedy of the break between Judith and her father was heightened by the fact that both thought religion was at the bottom of it. It was not. Judith could have put up with any amount of criticism and jeering. What had made her revolt was the implied accusation against Edmund. The precise reason why she loved him was because of the innocence of their relationship. And, by the way, yes: she did love him. It was her father who finally convinced her of the fact.

It was exactly the same with Sir George. After he had let off steam and been as rude as he knew how, he would inevitably had accepted the fact that his daughter, whom he genuinely loved, had become a Papist.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, pp. 45–46.

Catholicism is still hateable

She tried to interrupt a time or two: "But Daddy, you know, there is a reverse to the coin." But she was promptly squashed: "I have tossed it and it always comes down tails." Later she tried again: "Just suppose, Daddy, that Catholics did suddenly veer round and say that God was point Omega in the evolutionary process; that the social virtues were the important ones; turned the Mass into a ceremony of uplifts; became compromising, ecumenical and forward-looking, would you believe in it then?"

Sir George paused for an appreciable time. He had not expected the question. But he was both a very intelligent and a very upright man. "No, Judith, I should still hate it. In the last resort, I hate it for what it is, not for what it says and does."

"That is very deep of you, Daddy," said Judith.

— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 43.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Attending" Mass

At last Sunday came. Judith dutifully went to the eight o'clock Mass. She felt far too gay to pay the slightest attention, but she was sufficiently wide awake to notice a curious phenomenon: it made precisely no difference if she were attentive or not. The Mass was so far above human affairs that her thoughts, her attitudes, her longings added or subtracted exactly nothing. She pushed her way out at the earliest possible moment as though she were a hardened Catholic, utterly satisfied at having done nothing. There had been two presences, God and Judith: there could be no more.
— Bryan Houghton, Judith's Marriage, 1987, p. 23

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Death of Catherine Tekakwitha

The day-light of Wednesday in Holy Week arrived. Catherine received Extreme Unction. There were many people round her praying. One of them, of course, was her companion, Marie Thérèse. This woman, inseparable from Catherine, Catherine sent away from her. She knew that Marie Thérèse had work to do in the forest bringing in wood. Let her go out to her work. She would call Marie Thérèse if death approached. And how could she know when death would approach?

Marie Thérèse went out to her work, and sure enough, she did receive a summons from Catherine. What Catherine then said to her, Father Chauchetière, also present could not help hearing.

I am leaving you, said Catherine. I am going to die. Remember always what we have done together since first we met. If you change I shall accuse you before the tribunal of God. Take courage, despise the discoursings of those who have not the Faith. If they ever try to persuade you to marry, listen only to the Fathers. If you cannot serve God here, go to the Mission at Lorette. Don't give up your mortifications. I shall love you in Heaven. I shall pray for you. I shall aid you.

This was an Iroquois who was speaking, unmistakably an Iroquois. So strong yet so tender. A Christian Iroquois to another Iroquois: I shall aid you.

After that, she kept an Algonquian silence, or the silence of any man-born child who is dying. Father Chauchetière watched her. She seemed more to be contemplating than suffering. There was no struggle. He did notice a twinge in the neck. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. She was dead.

It was three o'clock in the afternoon that she died, and there were still some hours left before the April darkness would come to dim the dim long-house, but before the darkness came a transformation took place in Catherine's visage. A kind of glorification of this Indian girl was enacted before the Indians. It seemed not only as if her hood had at last been thrown back—it was—but as if she had torn a pock-marked mask from her face. The pock-marks were still there. Yet she shone. They had never seen her before. Thereupon the Indians behaved as they had never before behaved with one of their dead. The women did not wail. The men did not crouch about her, stoic. They pressed near to her with delight. They went farther, thought Father Chauchetière, than they should have done. They behaved like many simple, direct, peoples in the Middle Ages, of whom they had never heard, and had not the slightest desire to imitate. They kissed the hands of the empty body. They tore from its dress tatters that they could preserve as keepsakes. They did, if you wish, exactly the opposite from what their ancestors had done to their dead in the days of pagan waiting. The ancestors had given to the dead the best they had. Now they took from the dead their riches of riches. It was they who were in need. She it was who was happy. Now they were remembering the dead but in a new way.

The next day, Holy Thursday, Caughnawaga buried Catherine's body. It was a day singularly fitted for her burial, for she had had an heroic devotion for the Holy Eucharist which had been instituted on that day. And all that was connected with her burial was also fitting. At Catherine Gandeakena's funeral there had been no throwing of gifts into the grave. At Catherine Tekakwitha's there was not even sorrow. There was nothing but joy. It was not merely that a human soul, whom they happened to know and to consider holy, had gone to Paradise, there to remember them, there to plead for them. It was that one of their flesh and blood and with their ways had very visibly gone to the Christian Paradise and made it their Paradise. They could see into it more easily now. They could even take a pride in it, for from it looked down on them one who was so clearly a Christian—Catherine—and so unmistakably an Indian—Tekakwitha.

— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 242–244.

The Picture of Catherine Tekakwitha

It is a very tender story that Father Cholenec—not mentioning Father Chauchetière's name—tells of how Catherine was so grateful to Father Chauchetière, that she appeared to him several times in visions after her death, and gave him various messages. It seems that Father Chauchetère, whose life had never experienced any extraordinary trances—like those of Madame Acarie, or Marie de L'Incarnation, for instance—was ravished into several five-hour trances by the visitor, whom he had visited while she was on earth. So proud was he of these visits and touched by them that in his life of Catherine he did not mention them as having occurred to himself. They had happened to a certain priest. That priest, he said, had been told many things which afterwards came true. Also the priest had been commanded by Catherine to draw her picture. Since he could not draw, and merely liked looking at picures, he at first hesitated. Then he had complied, after he had been commanded. Hence we have the picture of his picture in the frontispiece of this book.

— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, p. 239 and frontispiece.

The Vow of Catherine Tekakwitha

In the spring of 1679, on the Feast of the Annunciation, she took what is prudently termed to be the first known vow of perpetual virginity ever taken by any Indian maiden of North America.

Father Cholenec officiated at it, and it was he also who wrote the account of it.

It was on the day of the Annunciation, the twenty-fifth of March, 1679, at eight o'clock in the morning, that Catherine Tekakwitha a moment after Jesus Christ had been given to her in Holy Communion, gave herself also entirely to Him and renouncing marriage forever, promised to Him her perpetual virginity, and finally with a heart on fire with love called on Him to deign to be her unique spouse, and to take herself as His spouse in return. She prayed Our Lady that Our Lady might with tender devotion present her to her Divine Son; then wishing to make a double sacrifice in a single act, she at the same time as she gave herself devout to Jesus Christ, consecrated herself wholly to Mary, begging her to be from then on her mother, and to take her as her daughter.*

* Cholenec, p. 51.

— Daniel Sargeant, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 225–226.

Longing for Holy Communion

It is easy to see why there was this reluctance to admit the Iroquois to Holy Communion. It was known that they had certain gross and perverted ideas in their heads, into the terms of which they might translate the Christian doctrine. It cannot be forgotten that Indians from Ossernenon had cut off slices of Jogues's flesh while Jogues was still alive, and had devoured them. They were Mohawks who had eaten the heart of Brébeuf after it had been torn from his mutilated body, while he hung from the stump of a tree in burned St. Ignace. More recently Father Bruyas had discovered his Oneidas roasting slowly to death a woman of the Anastes, a people of their own stock, with whom they had been engaged in an annihilating war. Such tales make us dizzy with sickness. It did seem—did it not?—that the thoughts of the Iroqois had become so tarnished, and their lips so polluted, that a long purification of lips and thoughts would have to take place before they could see the doctrine of the Blessed Eucharist, as a child without preconceptions may see it.

Yet even then it must be acknowledged that the Iroquois had been longing very particularly for Holy Communion. The very mirages they had followed showed them famished for it. They had always tried to raise themselves higher than they were by joining themselves somehow to sufferings. And here were the sufferings of Christ with which they could unite themselves. Also the Iroquois had been tormented with the desire of girding themselves into a single body, which was greater than the sum of them all as individuals. In all their wars they had, like imperialists, fought for an ultimate peace to be enjoyed in the unity of a long-house which was The Long-House.

The union with God, and with the splendor of the saints, and with the heroisms and weaknesses of the Church Militant, made possible by the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, was the very thing for which all their wars had been fought, and all their dreams had been dreamed.

— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 204–205.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Loving Their Enemies

Before they arrived, the village had been saved.  The Mohicans had retreated, and the villagers were feasting on one of the Mohicans whom they had captured.

It was too late to do anything about this cannibalism. Father Pierron thought it best to continue on with the two hundred irate Mohawks of the Upper Village whose numbers had been swelled by warriors from Kanawaké, and who were trying to circumvent the retreating Mohicans.  They did circumvent them, captured nineteen scalps which they brought home on a pole, and six men-captives and four women-captives, one of the latter of whom had a suckling at her breast,—a babe born in campaign. Father Perron baptized the suckling before it died. Then he watched the captives—the grown-ones—being made to sing as they marched to Kanawaké. Then he watched them as they were made to perform on the scaffold as Father Isaac Jogues had been made to perform. There was no stopping of these Iroquois ceremonies. All he could do was to instruct as many of the captives as he could in the Faith and baptize them before they were burned. In the flames it was possible for a dying Mohican to recognize Christianity. But the Mohawks triumphant could not catch sight of such a thing. Look how the Black-Robe loves our enemies, snarled a Mohawk. Father Pierron tells us what the answered.
Thereupon I embraced the opportunity to say to our Agniés that I loved their enemies—but with the same love wherewith JESUS CHRIST loves us all—because, as they had souls that were immortal, and so capable of being happy in Heaven, it was part of a Christian's duty to procure the same happiness for them all; that, besides, we were to form in Paradise only one beautiful family of true friends, because there is only one God—Who, loving us all with the same love, unites in Himself all our hearts; and for that reason I was under obligation to love their enemies. But, I added, as for them, besides that common obligation that bound me to love all men in that wise, I had also a very special love for them, because JESUS CHRIST, who is the Master of our lives, had sent me into their country to show them the way to Heaven, and not into the country of the Loups, their enemies.*

* Thwaites,, vo. LIII p. 149.
— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 165–166.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Huronian at Prayer

The Iroquoians had shown a great power of self-control even over their thoughts. This was not spontaneous, it was a matter of training. In their dances they taunted and insulted one another, and though they answered one another with counter insults, were never allowed to lose their tempers. They were schooled from childhood to hide their emotions and, more than that, to be able to swing their thoughts to what they wished to concentrate their attention on. Thus they would chant in their sufferings. Now they [the Huron Christians] began to make Christian ejaculations in the place of their chants and to think on God and on paradise.

Some of the Indians thus kept themselves in a constant state of prayer. René Tsondihouanne was asked by one of the Jesuits how many times a day he thought of God during a journey which he just taken. Only once, he replied very simply, but it was from morning to night. The Father asked him whether that conversation with God took place mentally. Not at all, he said. I find it better to speak to Him, and thus I am less easily distracted.

— Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, pp. 129–130.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fr. De Smet and the Flatheads

The aged wrinkled chiefs [of the Flathead Nation], patriarchs, wanted to be children to him – and he [Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J.] was only thirty-six. Every word of his they remembered. Words were still a treasure to them, a wisdom. It was dangerous to speak lightly. They forced him to preach to them four times a day. The day after he arrived he translated for them into their tongue with the aid of an interpreter the prayers that it was best for them to know. Two weeks later he held up a medal of Our Lady, and promised it to the first who could recite "the Pater, the Ave, the Credo, the ten commandments and the four acts" of faith, contrition, hope, and love. An aged chief stood up. "Give it to me." He knew the prayers and acts word for word, and, wearing Our Lady's medal, was appointed the catechist of the tribe. — Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, NY, 1940, pp. 194–195.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Adieu, Black Robe

Adieu, Black Robe, may the Great Spirit accompany you. Evening and morning we shall offer our supplications for you, that you may arrive safe and sound among your brothers at Saint Louis. We shall continue to make our prayers for you until you return to us, your children of the Mountains. When, after the winter, the snow shall disappear from the valleys, and the greenness of things shall have rebirth, our hearts at this time so sad will recommence to rejoice. And as higher and higher grows the grass, so greater and greater will grow our joy. And when the buds shall once again break into flower, we shall go forth again once more to our meeting with you. Black Robe, adieu.
— quoted in Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, NY, 1940. p. 196.

Monday, November 24, 2014


It was something to make us children. We began by being the shepherds who were the first to visit the new-born Christ, even before the wise men. We were not Catholics for any reason merely civic: we were Catholics in order to be able to have the privilege to say the rosary, and to kneel before the statue of Our Lady, and to kiss with our lips, which any immigrant amongst us had, the straw of the crib on Christmas day. We had a Church not founded on, not even buttressed by, any pride in our own talents.
— Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, NY 1940, pp. 186–187.

Sailing to America

On the General Wayne in 1805:
The hunger was so great on board that all the bones about the ship were hunted up by them and pounded with a hammer and eaten: and what is even more lamentable, some of the deceased persons, not many hours before their death, crawled on their hands and feet to the captain and begged him, for God's sake, to give them a mouthful of bread or a drop of water to keep them from perishing, but their supplications were in vain; he most obstinately refused, and thus did they perish. The cry of the children for bread was … so great that it would be impossible for man to describe it, nor can the passengers believe that any other person excepting Captain Conklin would be found whose heart would not have melted with compassion to hear those little inoffensive ones cry for bread.
Report of Andreas Geyer, Jr. to the German Society of Philadelphia, quoted in Daniel Sargeant, Our Land and Our Lady, NY, 1940, pp. 173–174.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Separation of Church and State

At first those who looked at Maryland and looked at themselves decided that the matter [of religious differences among the inhabitants of the new nation] must not be made a national matter at all. Every State except Pennsylvania had its established Church. Let each State continue to have the established church it wanted. As the Federal constitution was first adopted it did not mention religion at all. But there was always a possibility that in some future time the National Government might become affiliated with some one of the sects. Some such sect might become the Federal Church. Although each sect would have been satisfied with such a solution provided that it was the sect that was so honored, mutual jealousy led them to prevent forever any such victory for any one of them. So the Maryland solution of the problem—Lord Baltimore’s solution—was incorporated verbally into the constitution. It was not the Catholics who insisted on this. Of what importance were they alone? It was the Protestants. Yet it is significant that Maryland citizens were especially called upon to phrase Maryland's custom into our first amendment. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, now a Senator, was chairman of the committee appointed to draught the amendment. His cousin Daniel Carroll made in his favor the most important speech in the House of Representatives. The amendment was phrased: Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof. It was passed. It entered our Constitution on the same wind that brought over the Ark and the Dove.
— Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, NY, 1940, pp. 138–139.

The French Bubble

The ten Jesuit missions of New York State do not need to plead that they amounted to something. They have only to point to Catherine. What have all our sky-scraping busy cities ever produced like to her? … The mission of the Immaculate Conception at Kaskaskia lasted for ninety years, ten times longer than the Jesuit missions among the Iroquois, yet where was a Catherine Tekakwitha?
— Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, NY, 1940, pp. 107, 112–113.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Departing from the Rubrics

The prayers of the Algonkins are not mere formulae to be recited only by the lips.  The seriousness, the deep meditation, and inner concentration of mind with which they are performed are attested by all writers.  The strong inner commotion of the soul might, even with the bravest warriors, go so far as to break out into weeping and sighing, as is illustrated for example, by the West Cree.  Even in solemn public ceremonies, in which every motion of hand and foot is strictly regulated by an ancient ritual, men, compelled by the strength of their individual impulse, may transgress these regulations.

In the great creation ceremony of the Arapaho it has occurred that the principal officiant, representing the first ancestor of humanity, overcome by internal commotion and fervour, left the place rigidly assigned to him by the ancient ritual, approached the central post of the sacred house, which represents the Great Spirit, entwined his arms around it and called loudly and affectionately, praying to the Father above and to the Old Men of the the four cardinal points to help him and his fellow dancers in their efforts to purify themselves.

Not only the public or common, but also the individual prayer, for which they retire to solitude, is practised freely by many Algonkin tribes, for instance the Ottawa, the Cheyenne, and others, and it is was employed for all possible individual needs.

— H. Schmidt, The High Gods in North America, Oxford, 1933, p. 81, quoted in Daniel Sargent, Catherine Tekakwitha,, NY, 1936. p. 15–16.

The "High God"of the Algonquians

The definition of such a god was not found in any credo of theirs. Had a tourist gone among them in the old days and asked them the distinct question, Have you a High God? the answer would probably have been No. The High God of the Algonquians can be found in their ceremonies and customs that presuppose him, and in the metaphors of their prayers and songs. From the study of such emerges a god, called by the anthropologists a High God. He is one whose picture cannot be drawn. He needs nothing, can do all, knows all. He cannot be bargained with as a spirit or power—in the Algonquians tongues a manitu—can be bargained with.
— Daniel Sargeant, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, p. 11.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

On a Crucifix


Here at last



On a Crucifix by Dunstan Thompson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fr. William Peers Smith, Speaking of the Devil

Philip Trower:

Shortly after my reception I went for a walk by myself in St James’s or Green Park near Buckingham Palace. I forget now which. Here I sat down on a bench and almost immediately my head was filled with a torrent of thoughts and ideas contradicting the faith I had just committed myself to. You don’t really believe it all. You’ve been deceiving yourself. You know it. It can’t possibly all be true and so on. I had never before experienced anything like it. It was as though another person was speaking inside my head, as was indeed the case.

Scared and appalled, I rushed back to Farm Street and asked to see Fr. William. I was shown into a waiting room where after a few minutes he joined me.

Gently but firmly he explained about temptations against faith and the way to deal with them. In so far as possible ignore them. They come from the Devil. Above all don’t argue with them. If you do you will only lose the argument. The devil is much cleverer than you are.

This went on for several months. It was worst when I tried to think about Our Lady or looked at pictures or statues of her. My mind would be besieged with filthy thoughts. The whole experience was appalling while it lasted, but in the end it worked to my advantage. It made the existence of the devil and the powers of evil real to me in a way nothing else could have. In that way he can be said to have overplayed his hand.

Another piece of advice I remember Fr. William giving was about how to tell the difference between the action of the devil on the soul and the action of the Holy Spirit. The action or suggestions of the devil is like water dripping on a stone. An aggravating drip, drip, drip, drip. The action of the Holy Spirit is like water gently falling on a sponge.

— Philip Trower, Why I Became a Catholic

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A fascinating and interesting reply from C. S. Lewis

I wrote to C.S. Lewis and got a fascinating and interesting reply. That letter of Lewis practically put me into the Church, because that man for whose intellect I had boundless admiration very carefully wrote a stupid letter, the stupidest thing he ever wrote. He summoned all that he could dream up to say as an argument against my becoming a Roman Catholic and there was no substance in any of it. My immediate response was that if this is the best this marvelous man can think of as an argument against it, then I'm all for it.

So then when I was in London, I went to the Jesuit church at Farm Street on May 28, 1946, blessed day. I was received into the Catholic Church.

The Boldness of a Stranger: Correspondence Between C. S. Lewis and H. Lyman Stebbins

Friday, October 24, 2014

From Converts Across the Pond

Here are a few quotations from John Beaumont, Roads to Rome: A Guide to Notable Converts from Britain and Ireland from the Reformation to the Present Day, St. Augustine's Press, South Bend, IN, 2010.
Mr. Beaumont's book includes hundreds of converts (including martyrs), and provides biographical information, quotations, citation of sources, suggestions for further reading, and five valuable appendices. Some entries are several pages long. See a book review.
The book is available from St. Augustine's Press.
See also From American Converts.
With the kind permission of John Beaumont.

More than all, … there was in becoming a Catholic the sense of being where Christ crucified is set forth in every doctrine and principle. Protestantism had for years seemed to me nothing but Christianity without the Cross—the substitution of human motives, natural doctrines, and natural virtues for grace, truth, faith, hope, and charity. … Protestants may be better than their system; they often are, for Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum; but of no Catholic could it ever be said that he is better than his system, for the innermost principles on which it is built are Christ crucified—give up this world and all that it contains for God, for your soul, and for your neighbor.
— Thomas William Allies

I, the undersigned, who received, in 1945 in London, the great and decisive grace of approaching the Catholic Church, through reading the article in The Times Literary Supplement, Newman Decides … and seeing Newman's portrait …

Seek God, and God only, Then all the rest will fall into place. Ultimately, all questions are between God and the person—not between persons and persons—because I am only that particle of THOU ART which I AM.
— Robin Anderson

In the Catholic religion there is an amount of freedom found nowhere else. We believe whatever the Church teaches, simply because she is the Church, and in all else she allows her children a wide liberty. I do not say she authorizes, or even approves, every popular devotion, practice, habit, or custom to be found here and there. But, as a loving mother, she tolerates what she may not approve and would not authorize.
— George Angus

From '64 onwards there was an immense amount of propaganda for the reversal of previous teaching [on artificial contraception]. You will remember it. Then, with the whole world baying at him to change, the Pope acted as Peter. Simon, Simon, Our Lord said to Peter, Satan has wanted to have you to sift like wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith should not fail: and thou, being once converted, strengthen thy brethren. Thus Paul confirmed the only doctrine which has ever appeared as the teaching of the Church on these things; and in doing so incurred the execration of the world.

In general, faith comes by hearing, that is, those who have faith learn what they believe by faith, learn it from other people. So someone who so believes believes what is told him by another human, who may be very ignorant of everything except that this is what he has to tell as the content of faith.… If so, then according to faith a simple man—a man with no knowledge of evidence—may have faith when he is taught by a man ignorant of everything except that these are the things that faith believes. More than that, according to faith this simple man and his teacher have a belief in no way inferior to that of a very learned and clever person who has faith.
— G. E. M. Anscombe

Catholicism is Christianity. It's the same thing—nothing else is.

When we see the German higher criticism at work on the Gospels, and they tell us that certain of Our Lord's answers to Pontius Pilate are authentic, but that others are not, we merely reply, Sez you!
— Maurice Baring

[Letter to Leonard Smithers] Jesus is our Lord and Judge. Dear Friend, I implore you to destroy all copies of Lysistrata and bad drawings.… By all that is holy, all obscene drawings.
— Aubrey Beardsley

[From the novel By What Authority?, set in Elizabethan time] Then [the priest] began the preparation with the servant, who knelt beside him in his ordinary livery, as server; and Isabel heard the murmur of Latin words for the first time. Then he stepped up to the altar, bent slowly and kissed it and the Mass began. Isabel had a missal, lent to her by Mistress Margaret; but she hardly looked at it, so intent was she on the crimson figure and his strange movements and his low broken voice. It was unlike anything that she had ever imagined worship to be. Public worship to her had meant hitherto one of two things—either sitting under a minister and having the word applied to her in the sacrament of the pulpit; or else the saying of prayers by the minister aloud and distinctly and with expression, so that the intellect could follow the words, and assent with a hearty Amen. The minister was a minister to man of the Word of God, an interpreter of His gospel to man. But here was a worship unlike all this in almost every detail. The priest was addressing God, not man; therefore he did so in a low voice, and in a tongue as Campion had said on the scaffold that they both understood. It was comparatively unimportant whether man followed it word for word, for (and here the second radical difference lay) the point of the worship for the people lay, not in an intellectual apprehension of the words, but in a voluntary assent to and participation in the supreme act to which the words were indeed necessary but subordinate. It was the thing that was done, not the words that were said, that was mighty with God. Here, as these Catholics around Isabel at any rate understood it, and as she began to perceive it too, though dimly and obscurely, was the sublime mystery of the Cross presented to God.

I was an official in a church [High Anglican] that did not seem to know her own mind, even in matters directly connected with the salvation of the soul.… Might I, or might I not, tell my penitents that they are bound to confess their mortal sins before Communion? … The smallest Roman Catholic child knew precisely how to be reconciled to God, and to receive His grace.…
— Msgr. Hugh Benson

I owe my first real experience of the Reality of God to India. India made me God conscious.… The Hindu idea is: I hope one day to be God. My reaction is: I don't want to be God. I don't want to be worshipped. The idea fills me with horror. My whole instinct is to WORSHIP and this is what I want to do for ever and ever because it satisfies an instinct in me and I feel I was created to do it.
— Lady Penelope Betjeman

I had been struck by the wonderful examples of sacrificial love given by so many Catholic post-Reformation saints, which exploded any notion that Catholic spiritual power had been diminished by the events of the sixteenth century. Sadly, most English Protestants were told nothing about the publicly established facts of the lives of heroic post-Reformation Catholics like St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Father Damien the leper priest, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and countless others. These saints combined as passionate a commitment to the love of God with love for their fellow humans as anyone could possibly ask for.… It was the wonderful saints of the post-Reformation Catholic church which brought me little by little, step by step, kicking and screaming, to my knees in submission.
Cyprian Blamires

[W]hat I now saw was … that those who refused to accept the new religion and died as martyrs for the old were in fact the Church.
— Joseph Botting

It was a meditation in itself before and after mass to see the quiet yet mighty stones of Oxford all in possession of Anglican uncertainty—stones blessed and reared centuries ago by Catholic hands for Catholic teaching. For this is bare fact, and the English mind appears incapable of believing it or seeing it. Were these colleges built by Papists, people who really held the Pope to be the Vicar of Christ? How can there be any doubt about that? Granted. Is it, then, possible to assert that the object of the institutions is being carried out by a body of occupiers who protest against the Pope and all his doctrines? They make out that they are the legitimate successors of the Papist founders, although they repudiate papistry. Is there no inconsistency? To the Anglican mind, none. The real Absence in the Sacrament is equally true as the Real Presence. Believe as you please. As at Oxford, so too, at Eton. The toast was Our pious founder, Henry VI, in piam memoriam. Yet this Founder expressly started his school in order that the doctrine held by the Pope should be imparted to the boys for ever. Bless the Founder with one breath and denounce his whole project in the next! All Souls was founded on purpose to endow masses for the soldiers who fell at Agincourt: the emoluments were for that object only. Not a mass has been said since 1559—on the contrary, learned men enjoy the funds, men who are bound to aver that the doctrine of Rome is wrong. I now saw clearly from what a quagmire of contradictions I had escaped. Logic, simple logic, had triumphed.…

If Christ could pass through the closed doors after His Resurrection, can He not dwell sacramentally on the altar? Long before I had entered the Church I came across a sentence in Pascal which placed the solution in a question and answer; and the question could only have one answer, and that a convincing one. Admit the omnipotence of Christ and all difficulty is removed. Once as a boy at Eton I opened a copy of Pascal in the library … and I found the words Si l'évangile est vrai, si Jésus-Christ est Dieu, qu'elle difficulté y a-t-il là?—prefaced … by his exclamation that he cannot bear those foolish people who oppose the doctrine of the Eucharist. So I had been led on to believe in the sacramental Presence, but I applied the belief to the Anglican Lord's Supper; not till I was received into the Church did I realize that the Real Presence must be in the sacrament consecrated by real priests.
— Lord Braye

I will merely say that among the causes that led me toward the Church were some very simple words spoken by a poor Irish laborer. I was then studying at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow-student had invited me to visit the Catholic chapel.… We got the keys from a poor Catholic man, who lived near, and after we had looked at the church, my friend, who was fond of a joke, began to banter the poor Irishman. Why, Paddy, he said, do you think you've got the truth all-to-yourselves down in this little back street, and all our learned doctors and divines in this University are in error? The answer that Paddy gave was this: Well, sir, I suppose they're very learned, but they can't agree together, while we are all one. I often thought of that answer, and the more I thought of it the more wisdom did I see in it. And now that I have been a Catholic over thirty years, and have read many books, and seen many countries and many men, I see the force of his answer better and better.
— Fr. Thomas Edward Bridgett, CSSR

For me it was as if scales fell from my eyes on that Black Wednesday [the Church of England's vote for the ordination of women to the priesthood—note by John Beaumont]. I saw, all at once, that Leo XIII had been right, after all. The ministry of the Church of England was not, as I fully believed it to be, a continuation of the Apostolic Church, but a new creation of the sixteenth century, with which the Church of England was free to do whatever it chose.
Brian Dominic Frederick Titus Leo Brindley

[To Canon Michael Walsh] Father, I want to come home. I want to be reconciled with God.
— George Brown

When I was in my mid-teens I read Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians, which contains his famous essay on Cardinal Manning, whom, it was soon apparent, the author disliked very much. John Henry Newman was, for Strachey, the perfect counter-balance. He had more than a passing sympathy with Newman, as a true child of the Romantic movement who wrote moreover an exact and luminous prose; but Newman, too, of course, had been fatally lured and fascinated by the enormous claims of Rome, that apostolic succession that went back eighteen and a half centuries to St. Peter. And then Strachey demonstrates gleefully how the dogmas and utterances of one Pope were contradicted out of the mouth of another Pope. What could any average rational being make of such a morass of error and human frailty and pretension?

And yet the whole pageant that Strachey unfolded before me—intended to make every reader chuckle scornfully—gave me one of the greatest thrills I have got out of literature.

That such an institution as the Church of Rome—with all its human faults—had lasted for nearly 2,000 years, while parties and factions and kingdoms had had their day and withered, seemed to me to be utterly wonderful. Some mysterious power seemed to be preserving it against the assaults and erosions of time.

The phrase in some book that finally, for Newman, led from Anglicanism to Catholicism (implying that this or that tenet was true, because the Pope of the time had said it) made me catch my breath, and not in derision either, as Strachey had intended. It was the same kind of astonishment as Newman had felt, though much diluted.
— George Mackay Brown

Back in London, I placed myself under instruction, and—rather scornfully—settled down to study the penny catechism with an elderly nun. What a revelation was that to me! One by one, my difficulties and doubts vanished. From the outset, the contrast been Catholic and [Oxford] Group values was obvious.
1. Who made you?
God made me.
2. Why did he make you?
That I might know, love and serve Him on earth and be happy forever with Him in heaven.
It made me aware that my creation—and that of every human being—was an act of love; its purpose the achievement of sanctity and the attainment of eternal bliss. I learned that His plan of perfection differs for every human soul, and that there is no enforced or fixed standard for everyone as affirmed by the Group. Then the doctrine of Original Sin taught me that man's natural tendency is to sin so that there is no short cut to sanctity.
— Doris Eliza Burton

I came to see very clearly indeed that the Reformation was in England and Scotland—I had not studied it elsewhere—the work neither of God nor of the people, its real authors being, in the former country, a lustful and tyrannical King, and in the latter a pack of greedy, time-serving and unpatriotic nobles.… I also convinced myself (1) that while the disorders rampant in the Church during the sixteenth century clamored loudly for reform, they in no way justified apostasy and schism; and (2) that were I personally to continue, under that or any other pretext, to remain outside the Catholic and Roman Church, I should be making myself an accomplice after the fact in a great national crime and the most indefensible act in history. And I refused to accept any such responsibility.
— third Marquess of Bute

The two determining issues, closely interlocked, were unity and authority.… I came to think that the early Church held that visible unity was an inalienable attribute or property of the Church… As regards authority, I held that Christianity was a dogmatic religion, and that there was needed some living authority to determine its dogmatic content.

Christianity is meant for everyone, and so the Church is meant for everyone; it is catholic, universal of right even when it is not yet universal in fact. And since it is meant for everyone, and can only be accepted by an act of personal faith, it is apprehensible by each mature human being—at least, its credibility and its claim on his acceptance must be so apprehensible.… It is surely probable that if God has provided for mankind a true and universal religion, it will be fairly recognizable in its universal claims and presence. As a sore thumb stands out, so surely the true religion will stand out, for the responsible and prayerful inquirer who is not a professional theologian or a professional scholar, as unique and uniquely credible.… It is, at the very least, probable that the Christian body which has the divine mandate and guarantee to proclaim and sustain God's message to mankind will be aware of that commission and will be vocal in publishing its awareness.… [It is] not likely … that a body that makes no such claim … is unbeknown to itself and despite its own disclaimers, the one mouthpiece of a divine revelation intended for all mankind and in every age.…
— Bishop Christopher Butler, OSB

[15 April 1912] Be calm, my good people.
Fr. Thomas Byles

The Church I had converted to was the same Church that had existed at the Council of Trent, and before. If thumbscrews had happened still to be in use today, or if the Vatican was being turned into a brothel by a corrupt Pope, I would still have joined it. The Church would still have been the sinless Bride of Christ, simply because the all too violent sins of her members are constantly being washed away by the ever flowing blood of Christ. The Church as institution exists to preserve the sacraments, which are the actions of Christ. It is these which caused the bridal Church to be born on earth, again and again.
Stratford Caldecott

There is so much dialectic in the world that the words of the apologist are lost in the hubbub. But amid all the clamor man is aware of an absence, of a void which awaits a Presence. The more desperately he packs into the void the current political religions, the aestheticisms, the intellectual sophistries of the day, the more manifestly is the void a void. Wretched man that he is, who is to deliver him? He who cast out the demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, preached the Gospel to the poor. The Church is his, in a sense the Church is he, and everything within the Church, including text-books of apologetics, is a means whereby men are joined to him. What is not such a means is nothing.
— James Munro Cameron

Why were there no Anglican saints?

Still I was tormented with fears and anxieties, still I did not see clearly. At last I went abroad for a holiday, and there kneeling one day in a monastic church, I heard the brethren chant those words of the Credo: Et unam sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. And as they sang them the clouds rolled away from off my soul and the light of faith shone on it once for all. I saw them, in a way which I cannot describe, but, like the blind man of old, One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. I saw that all this time I had not been believing in One Church. I saw what the unity of the Church really was, and seeing, I rejoiced and thanked God.
— Dom Bede Camm, OSB

[My mother's] great discovery … after her conversion to Catholicism was the tabernacle in Catholic churches where the Body of Christ remains permanently present. It was there, near the tabernacle, that my mother could spend hours absorbed and it was there that she found satisfaction and consolation.
— Teresa Campbell, on Mary Margaret Campbell

The only thing that we have now to say is that if our religion makes us traitors we are worthy to be condemned, but otherwise we are and have been as true subjects as ever the Queen had. In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all that was once the glory of England, the Island of Saints, and the most devoted child of the See of St. Peter. For what have we taught, however you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach? To be condemned with these old lights—not of England only but of the whole world—by their degenerate descendants is both glory and gladness to us. God lives; posterity will live, and their judgment is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to condemn us to death.
— St. Edmund Campion, SJ

Either God had revealed Himself to us in a way so plain that he who runs may read; or his revelation was useless—nay, no revelation at all, for each man would take his own different subjective meaning out of it. A message implies a messenger; a revelation, an interpreter and a guide. Unless God intended men to make havoc of His Truth—to render it piecemeal, to mistake the tares for the wheat—He must have instituted on earth a means by which they could know infallibly and surely, without danger of mistake, what he really taught, and what they must believe if they would inherit eternal life.… Ultimately, the issue lies between a Teacher sent from God, and the clouded guidance of the natural unaided reason.
— Fr. William Robert Carson

Neither to Kings or Queens, to Parliaments, or Republics, or to any earthly form of Government whatsoever did our Divine Lord entrust the supreme Power in the ruling of His kingdom.
— Fr. Sabine Chambers, SJ

Dead bishops have no jurisdiction over us. Dead bishops and councils only speak to us through the living voice of today. Nay, even dead Apostles are our authorities only because our Church, in which we live now, vouches for them and presents them to us.

I can't conceive how it is possible to hold the view (which began in Laud's time, and which was never held in the Church till then) that the visible Church may consist of several bodies which hate each other and call each other heretics and schismatics. The Greeks don't hold the view, and never did. No one supposes that the early Church did.

The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much. If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly. But the less one prays the worse it goes. And if circumstances do not permit even regularity, then one must put up with the fact that when one does try to pray, one can't pray—and our prayer will probably consist of telling this to God.
— Dom John Chapman, OSB

I went to a talk that Hans Küng gave. I must say much of it was inspiring but much didn't appeal to me at all. I don't mean Hans Küng as a person, but because everything he presented was done in a way which boosted himself at the expense of somebody else. He made fun of the Pope, he made fun of the Vatican, but he did it in such a way that, very subtly, he seemed to me to be lifting himself up. And there's a very basic principle that the prophet must not profit, so that put me off. Then somebody mentioned Satan and in a very angry way, he lifted his finger and said, No! But Jesus constantly talks about Satan in many different contexts. And I argue that it's another of the devil's triumphs that he's made the mention of sin something to be rather shied away from, not quite proper to talk about in ordinary conversation. But the more you lose your sense of sin, the more you lose your sense of God and conversely, the more you approach God, the more you're aware of the reality and horror of sin.…
— Lord Leonard Cheshire

As for the fundamental reasons for a man joining the Catholic Church, there are only two that are really fundamental. One is that he believes it to be the solid objective truth, which is true whether he likes it or not; and the other that he seeks liberation from his sins. If there be any man for whom these are not the main motives it is idle to enquire what were his philosophical or historical or emotional reasons for joining the old religion; for he has not joined it at all.
— G. K. Chesterton

I believe in God because I believe in inspiration.

The great achievements of the Catholic Church lay in harmonizing, humanizing, civilizing the deepest impulses of ordinary, ignorant people. Take the cult of the Virgin. In the early twelfth century the Virgin had been the supreme protectress of civilization. She had taught a race of tough and ruthless barbarians the virtues of tenderness and compassion. The great cathedrals of the Middle Ages were her dwelling places upon earth. In the Renaissance, while remaining the Queen of Heaven, she became also the human mother in whom everyone could recognize qualities of warmth and love and approachability. Now imagine the feelings of a simple hearted man or woman—a Spanish peasant, an Italian artisan—on hearing that the Northern heretics were insulting the Virgin, desecrating her sanctuaries, pulling down or decapitating her images. He must have felt something deeper than shock and indignation: he must have felt that some part of his whole emotional life was threatened. And he would have been right.
— Kenneth Clark

The beauty of the Church is that it gives the teaching of one God, whilst enabling and in fact demanding that individuals be masters of their own soul and responsible for the actions they take.… In my political work … my Christian experience has given me a fresh dynamic, to understand politics as morality enlarged and the Christian expression of the art of government.
— Frederick Copeman

One could not decide between doctrines relating to the transcendent by empirical testing. Either one should adopt an agnostic attitude or one should invoke divine revelation mediated by a teaching institution which was divinely protected from error.
— Frederick C. Copleston, SJ

Please do not tell me about historical failings or current lapses because I've heard them all. I've met lapsed Catholics and lousy Catholics as well as good Catholics and glorious Catholics. Not relevant. It is the truth of a belief, not the failure or success of alleged followers to live up to that truth, that is of importance. I'm a miserable sinner. But at least I know it. Please pray for me. Or if you can't, at least tolerate me.
Michael Coren

The reasons for my decision are inevitably complex but, at the heart of it, lies a growing conviction that the Christian enterprise is not a book or a club for religious do-it-yourself enthusiasts but a movement, a stream of life passing through different ages and cultures. In mid-stream are those Christians in communion with the Bishop of Rome. That stream has encountered log-jams of rubbish, the product of human sin and inertia. So I can understand frustrated reformers who have felt compelled to divert from the main stream. Yet I have come to see that each separation is ultimately destructive and diminishing. Christian creativity lies in unity.… I can no longer see any reason of substance and principle to hold apart from the main-stream. Life is too short, the Gospel too precious, the human issues too serious to waste time thinking up reasons for preserving division.
— Peter Cornwell

Live, Jesus, live, and let it be my life to die for love of Thee.
— Richard Crashaw

I had long been of opinion that the world was tending towards Agnosticism on the one hand, and Catholicism on the other, and that the other religions had a much less logical basis on which to rest than the Catholic Church, whose ubiquity, uniformity, and piety had long been the wonder of the world. She at any rate speaks with authority, and her authority is the same wherever she speaks. I admit that, to one who has contemned religion as I have done, and who has been wanting in reverence for all kinds of authority, the struggle is a hard one, but being firmly convinced that my former opinions were utterly wrong, and that most of my bad actions proceeded from irreligion and want of reverence, I thought it best to join a church which represents the principle of authority in its highest form. I endeavor humbly to accept its dogmas, and to submit to its teaching on spiritual things.
— Bertram Wodehouse Currie

[To Marquess of Ripon] You seem to think that anyone who believes the Syllabus [of Errors] would be bound to affirm that in the best state of society some penalties ought by law to be laid on the professors of false religions. I do not think so. The stress of the condemnation lies elsewhere. You must remember the drift of the whole document. The Pope is vehement throughout against what he calls indifferentism, that is, the notion that there is no one ascertainable true religion, and therefore that all religions have a right to be treated as equal before the law. The authors of this condemned proposition made one exception to this right: namely they allowed the justice of punishing those who broke the public peace. In other words, they affirm that a religion which caused public troubles, tumults, and revolutions might be coerced by legal penalties. In other words, the condemned authors asserted that no account whatever was to be taken of the truth or falsehood of a religion, but simply of its tendencies to disturb the public peace. It is plain that if this were allowed to pass not only the Roman Emperors were right in persecuting Christianity, but the Jews would have been justified in crucifying our Lord for raising a tumult among the people. What, therefore, the Pope intends to condemn is not the principle that no penalties are to be inflicted on false religions, but the principle that there is no reason for punishing them except on purely political reasons.… [The Syllabus] is a protest in favor of truth against indifferentism; it is a re-assertion of a principle which the Reformation and the French Revolution have well-nigh made to disappear from the earth.
— John Dobree Dalgairns

I found that a false assumption, express or implied, invariably underlay all the arguments of the negative critics, viz. the impossibility of miracles. This supposition, however, seemed to me to be entirely untenable, and indeed philosophically absurd. Thus I was led by the grace of God to accept the Christian revelation as contained in the New Testament.
— Augustine Daniels

It was by the study of St. Paul and St. John that I first came to understand the fundamental unity of Catholic theology and the Catholic life. I realized that the Incarnation, the Sacraments, the external order of the Church and the internal working of Sanctifying Grace were all parts of one organic unity, a living tree, whose roots are in the Divine Nature and whose fruit is the perfection of the Saints. Thus the life of the Saints is not, as the eclectic student of mysticism believes, the independent achievement of a few highly gifted individuals, but the perfect manifestation of the supernatural life which exists in every individual Christian, the first fruits of that new humanity which it is the work of the Church to create.
— Christopher Dawson

An Englishman if you please, but first of all a Catholic.

It has never yet been determined by Protestants when what they call Roman errors began.
— eighth Earl of Denbigh

We have to confess the apparent triumph on all sides and through all ages of man's will over God's will, the course of multitudes along the dark and miry paths of error and vice instead of walking in the luminous road which leads to the mountain of Sion, and we are confronted by an appalling mystery—appalling till we understand the necessity of free-will, the power of Divine grace, the efficacy of prayer, the meaning of omnipotence in bonds, the glory of the hidden victories of the Most High.…

Indeed if the life of the Church was to be the continuation of the life of her Divine Founder, how could it be other than a life in appearance of defeat and humiliation, and in reality victory?
— Charles Stanton Devas

Who can estimate the multitude of the golden angelic souls, candid, puerile, and at the same time profound, to which the Middle Ages gave birth, and which passed without observation, or leaving behind in history any vestige or memorial of their transit? It was enough for the just that their death was precious in the sight of God, and that their lot was amongst the saints.
— Kenelm Henry Digby

Geraldine, I am a Catholic. Jesus Christ has looked at me. I shall change no more.
Mother Mabel Digby

Whenever the plea is advanced that the deposit of faith, of which the Church is the eternal custodian, must be re-expressed or re-interpreted, according to current scientific or philosophic fashions, Authority will pronounce its anathema. The One remains, the many change and pass. The Church until the end of this dispensation will contend for the Faith that was once delivered to the saints.
— Reginald James Dingle

It is sometime before a convert from Protestantism realizes that religion is no longer a Sunday affair which can only intrude into weekday life without unseemliness in the form of good behavior implying a religious basis.
— Enid Dinnis (Mrs. William Cassell)

What changed me from High Anglicanism to Catholicism was simply that reading history, and finding out all the lies that had been taught to me as truth at school and at Oxford, convinced me that the High Anglican position, however attractive it may be, does not hold water. The theory that the Church of England is a branch of the Catholic Church, and that continuity was never broken at the Reformation, seems to me to be demonstrably false.… What finally converted me to Catholicism, though I did not actually become a Catholic till more than a year after I read it, was Pope Pius X's Encyclical Against Modernism.… It had the effect of convincing me that the Catholic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome, is the only true Church.
— Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie)

I am for the old faith. I've become a Catholic, as every artist must.
— Ernest Dowson

The Church of England has no authority of reforming herself, because the doctrine of Christ cannot be reformed, nor a National synod lawfully make any definitions in matters of Faith, contrary to the judgment of the Church Universal of the present age, shown in her public liturgies; that judgment being equivalent to that of a General Council in the present age.
[from The Medal]

And our own worship is only true at home,
And true but for the time; 'tis hard to know
How long we please it shall continue so;
This side to-day, and that to-morrow burns;
So all are God Almighties in their turns.
A tempting doctrine, plausible and new;
What fools our fathers were, if this be true!
— John Dryden

Infallibility is the only guarantee we have that the Christian religion is true. Actually, if I, at this moment, did not believe in an Infallible Teacher, appointed by God, then nothing on earth would induce me to believe in the Christian religion. If, as outside the Catholic Church, Christian doctrines are a matter of human opinion, then there is no obligation upon any living soul to believe in it. Why should I stake my immortal soul upon human opinion? For that is all you have if you refuse the Infallible Church.

When Christ said to His Church: He that heareth you heareth Me, He laid upon Himself the obligation of making His Church not only recognizable but verifiable for all time; otherwise His followers down all ages would have no means of knowing whether they were in His own Church or not. He laid such tremendous stress on being in His Church that people who did not hear it were to be treated as heathens and publicans, outcasts, ex-communicated. He made it One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic so that there should be no mistake about His Church, and no difficulty in recognizing it.
— Fr. Owen Francis Dudley

Let no one say that submission is an act of servility. Submission of our individual opinions to the Vicar of Christ is no more servility than is an inferior officer's submission to his superior. He may not be able to see the situation in all its bearings, but he obeys because he believes that his superior represents his country and his Sovereign. In like manner, when the Vicar of Christ speaks to define a disputed question of faith, or to give a moral counsel, or to warn the world of certain dangers, the Catholic humbly and cheerfully obeys, because he believes that God is true to His promises, and that He is teaching truth by the mouth of His Vicar on earth.
— John Duffus-Harris

As a schoolboy, long before becoming a Christian had crossed my mind, I was deeply impressed when one of my teachers came into class and said, I did not invent the Christian religion.

The most important thing is that it makes sense to talk about doing things for the love of God. Now, it is presumptuous of me to mention such things, but the fact is that the few lives that exemplify something far above the average are the lives that are devoted to the love of God. For the love of God people do what, from any other standpoint, is throwing away their lives. I'm not talking only about people who risk martyrdom but [also those] who give up their whole lives to relieving the suffering of the utterly wretched, or for that matter those who give their lives to penance and contemplation. I don't know anywhere else we can find anything that counterbalances the extremes of human wickedness which very frequently occur. The one thing I feel I cannot do is to adopt a view of the world which would make nonsense of such lives. When it comes to it, that is where my loyalty lies.
— Sir Michael Dummett

When the renaissance papacy forced a rethink on all believers, the Catholic reformers stood by a papacy which had erred but was an integral part of the system as founded by Christ. The Protestant reformers decided that an institution which had sunk so low was irreformable and concluded further that the only guide of conduct had to be be same New Testament which had been a pillar of the Church as accepted hitherto. Although the New Testament claimed to be a supernatural revelation, it had to be put across in the normal language of everyday. This meant that there was, as there had always been, room for misunderstanding and diverse interpretation. Hence the reluctance of the universal Church to put the book in the hands of everyone. Its true meaning was a matter for exact study by trained scholars and authoritative definition by the successors of St. Peter. So Tyndale's idea that once the Word was translated and made available even to ploughboys, everybody could know by spiritual insight what it meant, was decidedly naïve. In practice, a variety of clever and often learned men took over and reached, as one might expect, very different conclusions. One thing they all agreed on was that the former bulwark of the old Church was not transparently evident as the foundation of a new faith or faiths, which could be subsumed under the one word Protestant. How the pillar of Catholicism became the main support of all that it opposed presents a question of human psychology, perhaps, as much as theology.
— Fr. Francis Edwards, SJ

I think authority is vital for any sort of freedom. Anarchy is not freedom. One of the nuns told me, Once you're inside the Church, you can shake a pretty loose leg. It gave you much more freedom once you knew the rules than just floundering around in this complete permissiveness and liberalism. You've got the structure, and within that you can be very free, and you can actually be very happy.
Alice Thomas Ellis

Many Catholic customs had a liturgical inspiration associated with religious festivals. Today these festivals have mostly changed, leaving their associated customs misunderstood and disconnected. Old customs have become new superstitions. One reason for this was the massive social and cultural dislocation wrought by Reformation, and another was the puritanical attitudes of many liturgists of more recent (post conciliar) times. A number of interesting reversals have occurred. The spilling of salt … the number thirteen … Christmas … walking under ladders …
— Fr. Mark Elvins, OFM Cap

The Catholic Church has not gone mad. In so far as Catholic minds have gone mad it is not a universal phenomenon: it is a European phenomenon, and is the consequence of attempts to adapt and accommodate a religion based upon man's entire dependence on God (a humble and contrite heart and the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom), to the conditions of a society in which pride in man's scientific achievement and his supposed social and intellectual emancipation has led to a general impatience with authority at every level and disbelief in the moral law itself.
— John Eppstein

You walk through the streets [of Rome]—there stood the centurion's house, and beneath that church St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles—there St. Ignatius shed his blood—from that pulpit St. Thomas preached—in that room St. Francis slept—in that house St. Dominic first began his Order.
— Fr. Frederick William Faber

When friends have entered that part of each other completely, we cannot come out from it alone as we were before, for he whom we entered is now some of oneself. And that is why, I believe, we must enter Christ through His Passion; it is only after we have been with Him in Gethsemane that we can have Him in Heaven.

Only the choosers of, and rejoicers in, mortal sin are those who need to fear because they have pushed Him away. If this were not so, where is the hope He holds out to us millions of poor imperfect sinners? How many can go perfect to Heaven?
— Eleanor Farjeon

I regard my conversion as the result of the Holy Spirit's gradual education in the truth of God, and my submission to the Church as the logical consequence of principles which I learnt to hold while still a member of the English Church. For I had learnt, step by step, to believe the whole body (with one exception) of Catholic Doctrine.… Then, asking myself, Why do I believe Infallibility alone of all other Catholic doctrines to be false? I found I only rejected it (not knowing anything about it) because I was prejudiced against it, and because to accept it meant to give up the whole Anglican position.… So I felt bound to learn more about it, and, applying the same tests of Scripture and Reason, I was convinced first of its necessity, then of its reasonableness, last of its scriptural authority.
— Fr. John Henry Filmer

When I was a young girl I used to read [Newman's] Apologia sitting on top of a ladder in my cousin Willy Cumleton's library.… When Willy found me doing this he took it away and locked it up and said—There's been enough of that but it had set me off on the road to popery; I longed to read more, but it was a dear book. I had but little pocket money.… I pawned a valuable gold and ruby broach one of my aunts had given me, and bought it.… Finally I was praying in the chapel he [Newman] build in Stephens Green, when the truth of the Catholic Church came over me like a thunderclap: but I could not join. I was afraid of being turned out of the house.
— Geraldine Penrose Fitzgerald

Who was that … drawing so gently, so strongly—in the month [October] of his feast, too, though I knew it not? Ah! It was St. Francis of Assisi. In my last retreat at Cowley I took in with me the Life of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure and read it—a new Saint to me. He won me to himself completely. His was the influence—his, St. Francis'—which I am sure, under God, drew me at length to the shore.
— Fr. Philip Fletcher

If I had known what lay ahead in the shape of Vatican II, I really can't say what I might or might not have done. To be fair, Vatican II itself was not the destructive force. It was what became known as the Spirit of Vatican II, a phrase much used by clerics who wished to push through Protestantizing reforms, and used the phrase to distort the original mild concessions of Vatican II itself into the devastation which has followed. Yes, indeed, Patrick's views [in The Attic Term] are mine.
— Antonia Forest

Paradoxically, my first faint stirrings of belief arose from mere human respect: from an acknowledgment of the fact that a man, a humble peasant craftsman who had lived most of his life in an obscure village in one of the farthest outposts of the Roman Empire, had nevertheless possessed such outstanding intuitive knowledge of the nature of man that the Church he had founded two thousand years ago was the only organization in existence capable of grappling effectively with the social problems deriving from modern large-scale production. The more I pondered on this mystery, the more did I become intrigued. There was something about it which seemed positively uncanny. How could one find words adequate to its description? It was certainly not natural. It was even more certainly not sub-natural. Thus it was that the one word I had sought to eliminate from my vocabulary was the only one that could adequately express the conviction to which I was forced. It was supernatural. That is how I arrived at the conclusion that Jesus Christ might well be indeed the Son of God.
— Hamish Fraser

The only solidly good, undilutedly good, thing I ever did.
— Dr. Muriel Fraser

Anglicans do not believe in any supernatural existence hic et nunc.… Of course, no Anglican would admit that to be his belief; he would most strenuously deny it. But such is really his unconscious conviction—the real belief on which his life and conduct are based. That such is so is apparent in many outward indications; e.g., by his contemptuous rejection of all latter-day miracles—though he readily admits the principle of miracles formerly; by his disbelief in the intercession of saints—which really means that he does not believe the saints to be now actually existing in Heaven; by his disbelief in prayer for the dead, and the general doubt of any conscious existence between death and the Last Judgment (i.e., no supernatural state now); and lastly, by his utter repudiation of all notion of sacerdotalism (by which I mean the administration of supernatural power through human beings and the existence of supernatural function in a material object). For a long time I held these rationalistic prejudices, without realizing that it is upon an exclusively materialistic basis alone that such can be held consistently.
— W. D. Gainsford

Now, I've nothing against women playing a very full role in the Church. I'm sure that many of the women who have been ordained in the Anglican Church are much better Christians than I am. But the idea that a middle-class body like the General Synod should just bow to political correctness rather than the collective wisdom of the apostolic Church went totally against the grain in me.
— Sir George Gardiner

Increasingly, as time went on, I found myself arguing with Catholics. I was certainly cleverer than they, but they had the immeasurable advantage that they were right—an advantage that they did not throw away by resorting to the bad philosophy and apologetics then sometimes taught in Catholic schools. One day my defenses quite suddenly collapsed: I knew that if I were to remain an honest man I must seek instruction in the Catholic Religion.

If the doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin are rejected then this involves such a skeptical attitude towards Christianity that we can have no possible reason to be Christians.

People nowadays readily speak of Christ's faith in his Father and his mission, even, God help us all! his faith in humanity; but if he only had faith, he walked in the dark as we do, step by step, and why should we now believe because he only believed?

An authority claiming infallibility cannot also claim the right to change its mind.

I began thinking about the philosophy of religion under the influence of McTaggart's Some Dogmas of Religion. I have ever since believed that the holding of some dogmas as true is essential to any religion's being worth serious consideration: dogma is essential to religion as a shell to an egg or a skeleton to a human body; without it we have only a shapeless jelly. Undogmatic Christianity is a plain absurdity; as McTaggart pointed out, the recorded teaching of Christ included dogmas; and as Hobbes pointed out, the earliest Christian writings contain a credal formula just as dogmatic and propositional as any later creeds: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Nothing in the end matters except Truth; for God himself is Truth; God is that which all true speaking and thinking points towards and from which all false speaking and thinking points away.… To God all falsehood is hateful, especially if it is supposed to help religion; God has no need of our lies.…

I can see no point in a man's wanting to use the old words when he does not take them in the old sense: except indeed that he is trying to deceive himself and others.… If people no longer believe the old dogmas, they should plainly say so, and not go on uttering the old affirmations.…

The attitude of revisionary Christians to their master is indeed hard to understand. On the one hand they view with considerable skepticism the reports of his teaching in the Gospels; on the other hand they are prepared, when occasion offers, to reject some of his views as mistaken, e.g., concerning the Old Testament or the reality of devils and hell. If the Gospels are historically as unreliable as they hold them to be, clearly they are on shaky ground in ascribing these mistaken teachings to the alleged source. Whether the Gospels are unreliable or not, it is absurd of such thinkers to claim to follow a teacher whose mind was either so gravely in error, or so gravely misrepresented, as they suppose.
— Peter Geach

If the Church of England Synod could change the apostolic ministry, it could change whatever it wanted.…
— Fr. Peter Geldard

I would not have anyone think that I became a Catholic because I was convinced of the truth, though I was convinced of the truth. I became a Catholic because I fell in love with the truth. And love is an experience. I saw. I heard. I felt. I tasted. I touched. And that is what lovers do.

[After hearing plainchant for the first time] I knew, infallibly, that God existed and was a living God—just as I knew him in the answering smile of a child or in the living words of Christ.
— Eric Gill

The first shock to my mere Christianity came in Durham in the 1980s when the then Bishop opposed attempts to reform the 1967 Abortion Act. The view of the present Bishop [David Jenkins], whose books seemed perfectly orthodox, were a still greater surprise. I knew the history of Anglican modernism and thought it passé. But there it was: the Anglican hierarchy was willing to consecrate a theologian who rationalized the central mysteries of the virgin birth and resurrection, by denying the miraculous conception of Our Lord and that he rose bodily from the dead.… What was at issue here was common Christianity, as all Christians had received it, from the Ecumenical Patriarchs to the humblest captain of the Salvation Army.…

I sometimes feel myself that I have a clearer view of Christianity than many who have only half left it, and who may have never been wholly outside it themselves. It is from a journey which begins in the rejection of Christianity that one can see most clearly how both like and unlike other religions it is, and that, while there are many mansions in the Father's house but only one house, so they all find their home under Peter's dome. Modern Western man may have to make a lengthy pilgrimage to find his true native land where it has always been, still awaiting him.
— Dr. Sheridan W. Gilley

Nuns are dramatic. Theirs is the greatest love story in the world.

Catholicism suits me because I like the way everything is clear and concise. You'll always be forgiven, but you must know the rules.
— Rumer Godden

I cannot conceive a material movement which has not a spiritual basis. It was this that drew me so powerfully towards the Catholic Church.…
— Maud Gonne

The Holy Spirit brought to my recollection Isaiah's prophecy of the Church (Ch. xxxv), with its promise that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein. Well as I had known the words before, it was then for the first time that I saw their force, and that they contained the answer to my perplexity. The finding of the true Church of God (and the consequent certainty about revealed truth) was not really a matter for learned investigation at all; otherwise there could be no responsibility for finding it resting on almost any one.… God had promised by His prophet that the fool—the ordinary unlearned person—should be able (at the very least) to find the Catholic Church, and so with certainty to avoid error.…

The two chief things that the process of my conversion has impressed on me are—that faith is the gift of God, given according to the inscrutable mysteries of the Divine Vocation; and that the means to obtain it are in the hands of every one who perseveringly prays, and has recourse to the unfailing patronage of our Blessed Lady, Sedes Sapientiae. Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
— William Timothy Gorman

When I was seventeen I had a strange experience. By way of broadening my horizon, I went into a Catholic church one evening, where they were having May devotions. Then something extraordinary happened. I, who had hardly ever gone into a Protestant church because I found the services intolerably boring, was completely carried off my feet. I could not imagine why. So strong was the inexplicable attraction I felt that I went again two days later, and after that to Mass on Sunday. That finished me. I felt sure that if I went once more into Catholic church I should want to become a Catholic—without even believing in God. This was absurd, and I decided then and there never again to enter one.
— Hilda Charlotte Graef

I felt we had as much right to certainty in matters of religion as the first disciples.

Besides, I saw plainly that Unity … which Our Lord had absolutely willed and required among his disciples, never had been and never could be secured in any other way than by the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff.
— Bishop Henry Grey Graham

I met the girl I was to marry after finding a note from her at the porter's lodge in Balliol protesting against my inaccuracy in writing, during the course of a film review, of the worship Roman Catholics give to the Virgin Mary, when I should have used the term hyperdulia. I was interested that anyone took these subtle distinctions of an unbelievable theology seriously, and we became acquainted. [Entry for Vivienne Greene]
— Graham Greene

If the unappealing and savorless absolutism of the Papal claims repels us, it does so precisely as the original claim that this Jesus is the Son of God repelled the Jewish and Gentile foes of the primitive Church.

We do not go to church to please or stimulate or express ourselves; we do not need the Church for such purposes. We go to Church to be present in and at God's Act, which God does for and in and by His holy Church.
— Theophilos Stephen Gregory

It may seem strange but it had never occurred to me before that our old English village churches had once known the rite of the Latin Mass.…
— Dom Bede Griffiths

The Catholic Church I knew from our Lord's promise was one, and could not be divided, although it could be diminished in size.

I should like to say, in reference to one's attitude towards those outside the Church, that I have always felt that argument and controversy more often provokes than does good. We should endeavor, it seems to me, to show our separated brethren that we Catholics love truth for the truth's sake, and that we sympathize with the struggles of those who are groping their way towards the light. I feel persuaded that mere controversial victories and smart sayings in many cases repel rather than attract. Men are convinced not so much by reasoning as by a clear conception of positive truth. As Cardinal Newman so justly remarks, false ideas may be refuted by argument, but only by true ideas can we hope to expel them.
— Hartwell de la Garde Grissell

I read St. Luke straight through at a sitting and it seemed to me that no one could have invented such an extraordinary story, it just had to be true.
— Merula Guinness (wife of Sir Alec Gunness)

The Church of England has always claimed that it has no doctrines or orders of its own but only those of the universal church. It was on that basis that it demanded the allegiance of the people of England. It sought both to insist upon the Catholic essentials and to uphold the necessity of reform. Now [1993] the Church of England has changed all that. By asserting that it can alter doctrine and order unilaterally it has relinquished its apostolic claim to the allegiance of the people of England.
— John Selwyn Gummer (Lord Deben)

The real difference between Catholics and all the Protestants is quite as much in the why and how they hold their religion, as in the substance or content of the religion. The Catholic believes in the authority of the Church. The Protestant does not, in the true sense believe at all, but agrees with a selection of doctrines which he, or the party to which he belongs, makes: (a) If High-Church, of doctrines taught in differents parts of what he terms Catholic Christendom; (b) If Low-Church, of doctrines which he thinks are taught by the Bible; (c) If Broad-Church, of doctrines which he thinks are in accordance with right reason.
— Herbert Edward Hall

The greatest factor, however, of my preparation for the Church was a visitation made by Cardinal Manning to the church of the neighboring Roman Catholic Mission. I attended the High Mass, and with the man's history and his ever-present personality in mind, his ascetic and emaciated form and features; the princely and yet tender pastoral bearing—the glory of his pontifical dress making him look like one of the old stained-glass figures which I loved so much;—the beautiful simplicity of his homily on the Gospel of the day: all these things drew me like a magnet ever nearer and nearer. Inclination was all towards the Church. The will moved by grace—as I firmly believe and know—was not far behind. I spoke to the priest: it was the first time to my knowledge that I had ever spoken to a real Catholic. I thought in my simplicity he would receive me into the Church the next morning. Instead of that he said, This is a grave step, my boy, and requires prayer and preparation. I will lend you a book to read. Though it mortified and humbled me, there could not have been an attitude more calculated to confirm me in my resolution if confirmation were wanted. It was my first experience of the thorough genuineness and reality of Catholicism, and was fraught with influence for good. After a time of careful instruction I had the happiness of becoming a Catholic.

Prince, whom the people praised, though not the great
Men, milling with their money-boxes through
The palaces of chance and keeping state
From slums that opened out their hearts to you –
Your glory blazed through London when you died:
In gold and scarlet, you, etherial, lay
Among the ragged ones, who were your pride,
As you were theirs, even more starved than they.
Your portrait shows you robed in God’s own fire
Of love, a skeleton of charity,
Whose eyes, too brilliant for their time, inspire
One most unlike you momentarily
To share the sight you, hungry, could endure:
Christ crucified again in all His poor.

Dunstan Thompson
— Fr. Herbert F. Hall

It came at a first going into Westminster Cathedral—after walking round, wondering at everything, which ended with: Well, goodness knows what it is all about, but it is the True Faith. Impression made neither on intellect nor heart, but only on the spirit. The Gift of Faith.
— Cecily Rosemary Hallack

You know my difficulties in the Church. Some are of an intellectual nature. Others, though seeming to be of this kind, are … emotional in origin, emanating from a sense of disillusion at not finding in the Church a perfection I am not, in fact, entitled to expect: in brief a failure to distinguish between the Church as an institution, with the human failings of such, and the Church as the mystical body of Christ: between the earthly Jerusalem and the Jerusalem that is above. And yet, however deep my disillusion; however violent, however justifiable, my bouts of indignation provoked by certain facets of the Church, I know, as George Bernanos knew, that, ultimately, all I have has come to me through the Church, in that the Church, despite its shortcomings, has given down the centuries, and still gives, unique witness to the truth revealed in Christ—namely, that Love is the heart of reality. I know that, were I to cut myself off from the Church, I would be as a branch broken from the tree from whose sap it derives life.

Nicholas Postgate died for the Mass; not for ritual and ceremony in general, but for sacrifice—the sacrifice made once and for all, for us men and our salvation, on Calvary, and at the same time the closest bond possible on earth between God and man, man and his fellowmen. The Mass, this mysterium fidei, gave to Nicholas Postgate, when he was an old man, the impetus to tramp the moors to feed God's people and his own, the strength, too, to die with dignity and lightness of heart.
— Elizabeth Hamilton

The die is consequently cast—I have resigned my curacy—and am now preparing to go out, like Abraham.… What I am doing seems scarcely to be real but I know and feel that thus it must be, or my damnation is forever sealed.
— Anthony John Hanmer

Whom God has joined together let not man think to put asunder. You cannot part Christ and His Bride. If the Church has spoken falsely, whether early or late, then Christ is false. If the Church is divided, then is Christ divided. If Christ taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes, so also must the Church teach her disciples. If Christ is risen from the dead, if Death has no more dominion over Him, neither shall the gates of Death prevail against His Church built upon Peter.
— Fr. Eric D. Hanson, SJ

My work on John Bunyan had given me a fair insight into the nature and grim tenets of Puritanism—far from being champions of true liberty, the Puritans were the most oppressive of all, clamoring for freedom only to force their own doctrines on others. There was more hope, I felt, for the Catholic Everyman, whose Good Deeds helped his entry into heaven than for Puritan ignorance, predestined to hell no matter what his efforts. It was possible to admire the depth of conviction and astute analyses of John Bunyan, but not his beliefs. And how could a literal interpretation of the Bible explain away the text Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church when that church was the Church of Rome?

The ultimate choice of a philosophy or religion thus lay between the Catholic faith, which demanded acceptance of dogmas that seemed, at first, as quite irrational, and an agnosticism which recognized that the knowable was very limited but the scientist was likely to be better informed than the theologian, in the twentieth century.

Once [my wife and I] could accept the central position—that the Church as a corporate body, divinely and supernaturally founded, fortified by centuries of wisdom and experience, as more capable of interpreting the supernatural and defining a dogma than any one individual—then all difficulties would disappear. Could we accept all the Church claimed? We believed so.
— G. B. Harrison

Puritanism is so stupidly afraid of the lessons of life as a whole, and so resolute never to learn from them, that it insists on our wearing, or pretending to wear, blinkers, so as to see nothing that is inconsistent with its preconceived moral scheme. Think of the weakness, the unphilosophic quality of Puritanism, compared with Catholicism, as a basis or background for art! And then the eventual outcome of Puritanism is of necessity rationalism; and there we have the real enemy!
— Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison (Lucas Malet)

From the moment that they began to teach me the Apostles' Creed, certainly I was no longer a Protestant. The words I believe in the Holy Catholic Church were enough for me; that a person could be and could not be the same thing at the same time was to my youthful mind an absurdity too patent to be believed in. I said, But we are not Catholics. Why are we not Catholics? It is a lie to say we believe in her, because we do not believe in her. But we are Catholics, though not Roman Catholics, they answered me. No, I said, I will never believe that; it is not true. Why are we never called Catholics or our churches called Catholic ones? No one could make me understand the Creed in the Protestant and negative sense. Everyone told me I ought to say it because everyone else said it, even though I was too young to understand it. And so I believed in the Holy Catholic Church, but not in the English Church, because I knew well that she was not Catholic, and I also quickly convinced myself, in thinking things over, that she was not Holy.
— Sr. Teresa Gonzaga (Louisa Teresa Hartwell)

It pleased me to see laborers in rough clothes and soldiers in common khaki coming to kneel simply by an altar and going into the confessional to receive pardon for their sins instead of driving up in Sunday-best to listen to some popular preacher.… I became a Catholic because I was a sinner. And for the same reason remain under those healing wings.
— F. W. Harvey

I had yet to realize that one could reconcile a certain anti-clericalism with Catholicism, believe in the Church yet have doubts about the men who compose it at certain periods in its long history. I should have realized that the Church has survived the leadership of mediaeval banditti and inspired great saints, great scholars and great artists. That while some bishop may have been worldly, a Sainte Thérèse in the calm of her convent gave evidence that God still speaks to the humble, that religion was not something that had happened in ancient times but was no longer a living force.

Bernadette [of Lourdes], incapable herself of philosophical argument, has forced many of us to think and to become more humble; her very strength lies in her complete simplicity. Aquinas and Bernadette; what wealth and variety they represent under the same wide roof!
— Arnold Lionel David Haskell

All Anglican theories of the Church, even the most extremely Papist, involve the assumption that the Catholic Church can be and is in fact divided. They postulate separated bodies, owning different authorities, differing to some extent in faith, yet all parts of the Catholic Church. But both Rome and the East deny this, and each claims to be, alone, the whole of the true Church of Christ on earth. If the Anglican theories are true, then both Rome and the East are formally teaching falsehood on a very grave matter.… For a Papalist, as I was, [this] was a reductio ad absurdum. Scripture and the Fathers alike set forth the Church as One, unique and indivisible. I accepted Rome's claim to be that Church. I must accept her teaching on her own nature and her own frontiers. By that teaching, the Church of England cannot be both separate and Catholic. It is separate and autonomous, as a matter of principle. Therefore it cannot be part of the one Catholic Church.
— Hon. Patrick J. Hepburne-Scott

I do not think I was ever attracted to the Catholic Church by the gorgeousness or beauty of its services. I always prefer a Low to a High Mass; it is to me more devotional.… But the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the little light telling of the perpetual Presence in the Tabernacle; the inexpressible relief of Confession; and the intimate union with and nearness of the Sacred Humanity of Our Divine Lord which breathes in every form of Catholic worship, these had from the first the strongest possible hold upon me.

The gist of the whole matter is this: Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. If people are content with Anglicanism, and have no doubts or fears of its truth, they are comparatively safe. But to remain in it, when you are convinced that she is in error, or when you have grave doubts of the validity of her orders, and consequently of her Sacraments and authority, is imperiling your own salvation; to stifle such doubts is immoral; and this was my case at that time.
— Elizabeth Herbert, Lady Herbert of Lea

I was attacked by quite a number of people who could not understand why I wished to join a church at all, particularly one as rigid as the Roman. I was told of crimes committed through the centuries by the Church, the Popes, priests, monks, and nuns. Such arguments seemed strange and irrelevant to me; I could not see the point of arguing such matters at all but only knew that I had stumbled upon my truth.

One night I dreamed, yet I was half awake, and I saw a stature of the Sacred heart come alive and I heard Christ calling me three times. This happened three nights running. I followed the call as I understood it and I joined the Roman Catholic Church.
— Baroness Vera von der Heydt

The late Abbot Vonier, of Buckfast, was instructing me; and the actions of Pius X against Modernism must have come up in our talks, for I remember being suddenly struck with something incongruous in the situation. Not only was I asking to be received into the Church whose disappearance, except for a few fools and knaves, I had so confidently predicted; but I was conscious of a particular impulse to gratitude towards the very man who had once played a leading part in making Catholicism seem intellectually impossible. But how could I not feel grateful to the Pope who had braved the ridicule of the whole world of intellectuals to preserve the Ark of intellectual sanity above the flood of skepticism that had submerged me for so many years? For, now that by faith I was already within the citadel, the picture of the obscurantist peasant trying laughably to turn back the tide had been replaced in my mind by an image of the mighty defender of the historical basis of Christianity.
— Frederick Russell Hoare

It is common in certain circles to ascribe the growth of the Christian Church entirely to the genius of St. Paul.… Naturally enough I have no wish at all to quarrel with those who exalt either the genius or the common-sense of St. Paul. But, if the critic tells us that the Roman world accepted Christianity because of St. Paul, we have the right to push the question a stage further back, and ask, What can possibly have induced St. Paul to accept it? The higher the abilities of St. Paul are rated, the less likely it clearly is that his reason for acceptance would be a trivial one.…

The attraction to me [of the Church] was predominantly that of a society which had been, as it seemed to me, the sustainer of civilization throughout the nations and throughout the ages.…
— Christopher Hollis

[Letter to Ernest Coleridge] I think that the trivialness of life is, and personally to each one, ought to be seen to be, done away with by the Incarnation—or, I should say, the difficulty which the trivialness of life presents ought to be. It is one adorable point of the incredible condescension of the Incarnation (the greatness of which no saint can have ever hoped to realise) that Our Lord submitted not only to the pains of life, the fasting, scourging, crucifixion, etc., or the insults, as the mocking, blindfolding, spitting, etc., but also to the mean and trivial accidents of humanity. It leads one naturally to rhetorical antithesis to think for instance that after making the world he should consent to be taught carpentering, and, being the eternal Reason, to be catechised in the theology of the Rabbis. It seems therefore that if the Incarnation could take place among trivial men and trivial things it is not surprising that our reception or nonreception of its benefits should be also amidst trivialities.

[Letter to his father] If the question which is the Church of Christ? cd. only be settled by laborious search, a year and ten years and a lifetime are too little, when the vastness of the subject of theology is taken into account. But God must have made his Church such as to attract and convince the poor and unlearned as well as the learned. And surely it is true, though it will sound pride to say it, that the judgment of one who has seen both sides for a week is better than his who has seen only one for a lifetime. I am surprised you shd. say fancy and aesthetic tastes have led me to my present state of mind: these wd. be better satisfied in the Church of England, for bad taste is always meeting one in the accessories of Catholicism. My conversion is due to the following reasons mainly (I put them down without order)—(i) simple and strictly drawn arguments partly my own, partly others', (ii) common sense, (iii) reading the Bible, especially the Holy Gospels, where texts like Thou art Peter (the evasions proposed for this alone are enough to make one a Catholic) and the manifest position of St. Peter among the Apostles so pursued me that at one time I thought it best to stop thinking of them, (iv) an increasing knowledge of the Catholic system (at first under the form of Tractarianism, later in its genuine place), which only wants to be known in order to be loved—its consolations, its marvellous ideal of holiness, the faith and devotion of its children, its multiplicity, its array of saints and martyrs, its consistency and unity, its glowing prayers, the daring majesty of its claims, etc. etc. You speak of the claims of the Church of England, but it is to me the strange thing that the Church of England makes no claims: it is true that Tractarians make them for her and find them faintly or only in a few instances borne out for them by her liturgy, and are strongly assailed for their extravagances while they do it.

I am so happy. I am so happy.
— Fr. Gerald Manley Hopkins, SJ

Christ having infinite knowledge and infinite power, what sort of a religion would you expect Him to found? Is it not more probable that he left a Church—that is, a teaching body that cannot teach wrong—to instruct you, than that He left a book out of which you were to help yourself?
— Fr. Ethelbert Horne, OSB

[Opposing Lefebvrist schism] You do not save the Faith by destroying the Church.

The trouble with truth is that inevitably it is both exclusive and universal. It is truth which is catholic and the term is applied to Christianity merely because it claims to be true. If, however, religion is not thought of as being true, it automatically becomes tolerant and ecumenical. This, indeed, was the primary characteristic of pre-Christian religions: they were ecumenical to the point of building the Pantheon and sufficiently tolerant to erect altars to the Unknown God. The one exception was Judaism, which claimed precisely to worship the true God. But even it was persecuted primarily because of the exclusiveness of the race rather than because of the exclusiveness of the truth—an idea incomprehensible to the pre-Christian in matters of religion. Hence the extraordinary fact that purely religious persecutions and wars of religion are post-Christian phenomena. As Jesus said: Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace (Mt. 10:34). No prophecy has ever been more clearly or more constantly fulfilled.

[From the novel Judith's Marriage] You told me, girl, that you had bought a very beautiful crucifix and you wanted to know what it was about. Very well, it is proof of the truth of Christianity. In all other religions man is more noble than God. God eternally enjoys the beatitude of His own infinite perfection, yet he expects miserable creatures to love him disinterestedly and to suffer nobly. Alone in Christianity is this not so. God becomes incarnate precisely to do as man what He cannot do as God: suffer. The personality of the man who is dying on the cross is the personality of God. He does not ask you to do what He is unwilling to do Himself. Indeed your suffering nobly born, your disinterested love are justified by His. Nothing is more terrible than unrequited love; and no love goes more unrequited than that of God.
Fr. Bryan Houghton

[Letter to Archie Campbell-Murdoch, 13 September 1943]
The way I look upon the abuses and so on which inevitably crop up in the visible church is that they are necessary, because they are the Passion. You see, the Church is Christ, and therefore Christ's Passion must go on in the Church. Tragic, even frightening though it is, we know Christ better with the kiss of Judas on His face. But how to stand, what could be the bleak misery of that, and to know the glory in it as well as the tragedy? There is a problem, and if you don't solve it, it breaks you.
I am sure the solution is to abandon yourself to the contemplation of the love and beauty of God, to the mystery of the Trinity, to the unutterable bliss of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; because if you do allow your soul to be swept along on this great storm-wind of love, like the bird with spread wings, you will find that one day you can look upon the face of the Passion, on what is ugly and confusing in the world, without faltering and with an increase of compassion for God and man.
— Caryll Houselander

It would seem … that the central question at issue between the Catholic and Reformed faith resolves itself into the one simple query: Are we to believe what Christ said or not.…

Had I remembered Newman's Apologia pro vita sua I should have quoted perhaps one sentence of his when a controversialist declared that Dr. Arnold vouched for his interpretation: Dr. Arnold vouches for his interpretation, but who vouches for Dr. Arnold? There is the crux of Protestantism. Who vouches for Luther, for Zwingli, for Calvin, for John Knox, for Cranmer, for Parker, or any of the other leaders of Protestant thought?
— Esme Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Penrith

Because it is the next best thing to Paganism.
— Edward Hutton

That dear institution we call the Church of England is altogether too well-bred, too good if you will, to be true. Quite certainly, she had not been founded by the Divine Son of a Galilean carpenter, with a fisherman as his representative on earth. She speaks with a well-bred voice, but she does not speak with authority.
— Fr. Bruno Scott James

During my visits to the tenements to awaken interest in our Special Services I had invaded the room of an old Irishman. Who are yez? he asked. I come from the little church in Darby Street, I said. There's only wan Church, he hissed. It's the Howly Catholic Church. There was much more to the same effect, but I scarcely stopped to listen. There was a fierceness in his manner, a violent dogmatism with which I could as well have argued as I could argue with a mad bull. Before this storm I bowed.… This tempestuous assault expressed my own secret thought. I knew he was right. From that moment, I think, my mind was made up. There was only wan Church.
— Stanley Bloomfield James

For many converts to Catholicism there is a final straw. For me it was something very small, an almost throwaway line which St. Paul had written. I had started to read St. Paul's great letter to the Roman Church and there in the first few verses of his greetings to that church I read your faith is proclaimed throughout the world (Romans 1:8). At its most basic level St. Paul was saying something about the faith of the Roman church of the first century. The Roman church even then proclaimed the faith which was to spread throughout the world. In a much wider and deeper sense what was true then is more true today. For the Roman Catholic Church has gone into all the world and preached the Gospel and is still doing so today.
— Keith Jarrett

I could not resist the claim of the Catholic Church to be the one true Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ to guard and teach the truth to all men till the end of time.
— Rt. Rev. Msgr. Vernon Cecil Johnson

[Letter to René Hague] I don't know whether I ever told you of my first sight of a Mass. It was after the Somme, I think, so when I had returned to France from being wounded.… Just a little way back that is between our support trench and the reserve line I noticed what had been a farm building now a wreckage in the main, owing to shell fire. No individual of any sort was about and I noticed that one bit of this wreckage, a byre or outhouse of some sort still stood.… I found a crack against which I put my eye.… [W]hat I saw through the small gap in the wall was not the dim emptiness I had expected but the back of a sacerdos in a gilt-hued planeta; two points of flickering candle-light no doubt lent an extra sense of goldness to the vestment & a golden warmth seemed, by the same agency, to lend [be lent to?] the white altar-cloths and the white linen of the celebrant's alb & amice & maniple (the latter, I notice, has been abandoned, without a word of explanation, by these blasted reformers). You can imagine what a great marvel it was for me to see through that chink in the wall, and kneeling in the hay beneath the improvised mensa were a few huddled figures in khaki.… I can't recall at what part of the Mass it was as I looked through that squint-hole and I didn't think I ought to stay long as it seemed rather like an uninitiated bloke prying on the Mysteries of a Cult. But it made a big impression on me. For one thing I was astonished how close to the Front Line the priest had decided to make the Oblation and I was also impressed to see Old Sweat Mulligan, a somewhat fearsome figure, a real pugilistic, hard-drinking Goidelic Celt, kneeling there in the smoky candlelight. And one strong impression I had (and this I have often thought about over this last ten years of change when clerics of all sorts declare that the turning-round of the mensa and the use of the vernacular and much besides made the faithful more at one with the sacred minister and so get back nearer to the Coena Domini) for at that spying unintentionally on the Mass in Flanders in the Forward Zone I felt immediately that oneness between the Offerant and those toughs that clustered round him in the dim-lite byre—a thing I had never felt remotely as a Protestant at the Office of Holy Communion in spite of the insistence of Protestant theology on the priesthood of the laity.
— David Jones

The Christian religion has ever professed itself to be a religion of miracles.… According to Christian belief, by the Incarnation and the Atonement, man is raised to sonship with God.… External miracle appears but the congruous expression of the tremendous spiritual transformation.
— Fr. George Hayward Joyce, SJ

I do love guidelines and the Catholic Church offers you guidelines. I have always wanted that in my life. I like to know what's expected of me. I like being told: You shall go to church on Sunday and if you don't you're in for it!
— Katharine, Duchess of Kent

I was cut off, not by any personal conviction but because I belonged to a Church which had deliberately cut itself off four hundred years ago.

In the Church of England one is given the impression that sanctity as well as miracles came to an end with the early Church. The Anglican Calendar is astonishingly bare; it was drastically cleared after the Reformation, and no name has since been added to it (with the doubtful and disputed exception of King Charles I), till the Revised Prayer Book cautiously inserted a few commemorations, the latest of which is some five hundred years old.

My branch theory would not work once I saw the Church no longer as a mere organization but as the living Body of Christ.
— Sheila Kaye-Smith

It seemed to me that, as long as one remained apart from that Church which had undoubtedly come down in its chief See in an unbroken line from the Apostles, and which had even claimed the allegiance of mankind on the basis of Divine Authority, it was impossible to escape from making self and private judgment the sole arbiter in matters of faith.
— Right Rev. Msgr. Charles Henry Kennard

I couldn't see how Anglo-Catholics could avoid the papacy. It seemed to me that either the Pope is the Vicar of Christ or he is the Anti-Christ.

The most fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants is not always understood. Many people suppose that Catholicism is simply Bible Christianity, that is, Protestantism, plus a whole lot of accretions, some bad, some indifferent, some perhaps acceptable but not necessary. The truth is that the two religions are essentially different in kind, because they have diametrically opposed views of the relation of the Church to the Christian faith, as well as to the Bible. The crucial and fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant understanding of the nature of the Church is that Protestants think of the Christian faith as existing somehow independently of the Church, whereas, for Catholics, you cannot separate the two from each other. For many Protestants, the Christian faith is something you find in the Bible, and you then look around for the church which seems most in conformity with this. But for Catholics, the Bible is the possession of the Church, which is entrusted with interpreting it.… Obviously, the Church at the beginning could not even appeal to the new Testament because it had not yet been written.
— Fr. Ian Ker

It seems to me that the effect of the Church of England's foundations is very similar to that of the tracing of a drawing, in which the tracer has tried to correct the original by leaving out some portions, inserting others, and rendering some indistinct and obscure. So long as the tracing is laid on the drawing we can perceive the draughtman's object, for the perfect outline and the distinct lights and shadows of the drawing underneath are still visible, and give their own meaning to the imperfect modified outline over it. Once, however, remove the tracing, and by itself it looks so flat, so angular, so unfinished, that you are obliged to refer to the drawing in order to connects its various parts.
Lady Amabel Kerr

We think of the Church as a holy thing, whether we are holy or not. We expect it to make us holy; we don't imagine it to be our job to make it holy.

The Bride of Christ, how could there be more than one Bride of Christ?

The Church, as Christ himself envisaged it, is a visible Church, rogues and honest men mixed; not all members of the Church are bound for heaven by any means.
— Rt. Rev. Msgr. Ronald Knox

I did have a most vivid experience of the alternative: either no religion or an embodied religion—with its symbols, traditions, historic figures (beyond more abstract concepts or allegoric personifications) and with its arbitrary accents and its corporate authority. Having chosen religion in the place of irreligion, which meant entrusting myself to God and not inventing a concept of Divinity that might best suit my fancy, I chose, uno ictu, submission to the Church.

Like so many other converts of my time, I was won for Catholicism largely, if not chiefly, by the wisdom and wit of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. One of my prevailing moods in those years could be phrased thus, Not to share Chesterton's faith is, after all, a thing of rank absurdity.
— Aurel Kolnai

When in Rome.…
Lady Pansy Lamb

Believing as I did in the necessity of valid orders for valid Sacraments, I could not, once I had begun to ponder on these matters, remain in the Church of England, whose orders are repudiated not only by the whole of Christendom, but also by half her members and many of her clergy.
— Helen Amelrosa Langrishe

So what does bring me to Rome? First, I feel at home in its structure, its ritual, its devotion to Our Lady and the sacrament of Confession. But above all, I am brought to Rome by one simple celebration of Faith: the Mass. I am welcomed by the unswerving devotion in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It is a devout and profoundly personal moment when that wafer is indeed the Body. It is a moment that has no need for the debate between a philosophical and anthropological approach to the Eucharist. The Dominican Edward Schillebeeckx wrote that the basis of the entire Eucharist event is Christ's personal gift of himself to his fellow-men and, within this, to his Father. For me, it is a moment of almost medieval simplicity.… It is a personal experience that is both frightening and a blessed excitement.
— Christopher Robin James Lee

On the whole, church artifacts from 1900 to 1960 were in extremely poor taste.… Then came the Second Vatican Council of 1962–6, and to everyone's surprise, things suddenly went from bad to worse.…
— James Lees-Milne (returned to C of E)

As a member [he was Bishop of London] of the Anglican Church I was very concerned that increasingly greater importance was given to private, individual interpretations of the faith—interpretations that depended on the situation, the environment, on what the Church felt should be decided or commented on at any given moment.
— Msgr. Graham Leonard

When before my conversion, I had to define for myself, and for others, the reasons which forced me to enter the Catholic Church, I wrote down several statements, the substance of which I now give; as they bring out very clearly the motives which urged me to leave the Church of England and to join the Church of Rome.

First of all, I could not understand any Church being the true one in which the professing members are allowed to hold such contradictory opinions on the most important subjects.

Secondly, I had a very strong feeling that a Church cannot be called Catholic in which there is no pretence even of one central authority which all the world is bound to obey, and in which every one is allowed what is called liberty to accept one fundamental doctrine and reject another, and in which such different and contradictory practices are tolerated in dealing with the most sacred subjects—as, for example, Holy Communion and Devotion to Our Lady.

Thirdly, I never could understand the possibility of a Church teaching a consistent body of doctrine without the presence in the Church of a teaching authority which should not only be Universal but Infallible. The Church of England was to me the best example of the chaos and confusion of thought which result, and must of necessity result, from the absence in a Church of an infallible teaching authority which all are bound to obey.

Fourthly, I hoped and expected to get greater comfort from the Catholic Church than I had ever got from the cold formalism of the Establishment; but I did not argue that because the Catholic Church would be more consoling, it must therefore be the right Church; but I argued thus: If it be the Church of god, it will as a matter of fact satisfy all the longings of the human heart better than the Church established by law in this land.
— Mrs. Cuthbert Leslie

An illiterate Catholic has the Faith and the conviction. He might be defeated in argument but that will not shake his Faith.…
— Fr. Edmund Lester, SJ

I concluded that there was something fundamentally wrong in the arguments of my friends.
Hon. Colin Linsay

I am sentenced to die for harboring a Catholic priest; and so far I am from repenting for having so done that I wish with all my soul that where I have entertained one I could have entertained a thousand.
— St. Anne Line

I was hardly seven years of age when the thought struck me that it was extraordinary that as Protestants, we should say, we believed in the Catholick Church (in the Apostles' Creed), when, so far from believing in it, we considered it to be full of error.
— Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle

[From Jean Stone, Eleanor Leslie: A Memoir(1898)]
From Mr. Caswall Mrs. Leslie heard a great deal about the conversion of his friend Ambrose Lisle Phillipps, and the kind of persistent annexing of every fragment of Catholic truth remaining in the Church of England which led him up to it. He went to the old parson and said to him, Sir, I find you might wear a cope. Oh, yes, my dear boy, but it's never done. But sir, he persisted, I should like to see you in a cope. I'll get you one. Another time he went to him and said, Sir, I find I might go to confession. Yes, my boy, answered the parson, but no one does now. But, sir, I'll come tomorrow and make my confession. He was as good as his word, went to the old man's study and knelt down. In terror the parson urged him not to say a word, but the boy got his way, and, having made his confession, asked for absolution. The parson asked him which he preferred, as there were two in the Prayer Book—the general absolution and the one in articulo mortis. The boy answered, Please, sir, I would like the best. The next thing young Ambrose suggested was a cross on the Communion Table in the church. He got one made, and a procession of the school children followed him, carrying it though the park to the church, the poor parson, a maiden sister on each arm, bringing up the rear. The boy put the cross on the Communion Table, and heard the parson say to his sisters with a sigh, Ain't it awful!

I became more and more convinced that, save the Sacrament of Baptism, Anglicanism was not a religion of Sacraments at all; and that when it attempted to make it so, it is only a hollow outward imitation and a sham.…

I saw that there is … an infallible authority, and that there can be but one only…and that this is the Roman Catholic Church, which has ever made itself known to be such throughout the world from the beginning of Christianity; whereas it is held as a first principle in every other so-called Christian Church, and in the Anglican amongst the the rest, that there is no such Divine infallible authority existing on earth at all, and consequently no means for man to know for certain what was divinely revealed, and what he is properly to believe. For it appeared to me utterly unreasonable and absurd to think of believing with Divine infallible faith supernatural mysteries, that are above the reach of reason, on merely human and fallible teaching.
— Fr. Thomas Stiverd Livius

Another source of trouble was the Roman Priesthood and, of course, the Black Popes, whom all potential converts feel bound to trot out. Gervase [Fr. Matthews who instructed her—note by John Beaumont] saw the priesthood as a system of pipes, some lead, some copper, some silver, along which the priestly power flows. The value or otherwise of the pipes makes no difference to the purity of the water. I found all Gervase's images vivid and relevant. The Catholic faith, he told me, had been regarded by Catholics in two different ways, one right and one wrong. The wrong way (that of poor girls brought up in convents) is to think of it as a small white room in which you come and switch on the light, whereupon everything is immediately dazzlingly clear. The right way is to think of Catholicism as a huge dim room lit only by firelight.… As the firelight flickers certain things in the room become visible and then fade away again, brightening the next moment. But there are many, many things in the recesses and corners of the room which we never see at all. Catholic faith is still a Mystery even after reception into the Church.

If a fountain has several pipes – pipes of lead, copper, silver, and gold – they still dispense the same water; likewise, we can receive the same grace from good and bad priests who administer the Sacrament of the Eucharist, providing we are worthy of it.
— St. Nicholas von Flüe (Brother Klaus), quoted in Michael McGrade, The Invisible Crown: A Story of Dorothy von Flüe, Wife of the patron saint of Switzerland, 1999, p. 140.
I am an artisan, a member of the priest-craft, who lays on the Divine Presence as the plumber lays on the water.
— Bryan Houghton, Mitre and Crook, 1979, p. 38. See also ibid., p. 44.

— Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford

The three great question for me were these. Does God exist? Was Our Lord divine? Is the Catholic Church His Church? I soon had little doubt that if I could satisfy myself on the first two counts I should have no hesitation about the third.…

Past attempts to separate the moral teaching from the claims of Jesus to divinity have never succeeded, even when undertaken by a man of genius like Renan.…
— Frank Pakenham, seventh Earl of Longford

I am a Catholic because I couldn't be anything else. None of the alternatives is better, because Catholicism is true.

So what does the hypothetical world without suffering look like? Much suffering results from mechanical [causes].… We are postulating a world where, every time some unforeseen misfortune [is about to occur] a miracle is performed automatically to put it right.… It is, in short, a world where the law of cause and effect has been abolished.… Actually it is worse than that. The principle of cause and effect is the fundamental reason why we find the world rational: do this, and that follows; do it over and over again, and we have a scientific law by which means we can begin to make sense of the world. Furthermore there is an extraordinary (and surely divinely arranged) association between the rationality of the world, and the rationality of our minds. If the world was irrational … our minds would surely be irrational too. Would we even exist?
— Clifford Edmund Longley

Either Christ was not God, or the Catholic Church is infallible.
— Sir Arnold Lunn

I thought to myself that all these Christian churches have got a bit of the truth, while the Catholic Church had a more rounded truth.
— David McClellan

Wickedness might abound—history was not silent; and it was no secret that wolves clad in the soft fleeces of sheep are a scandal in every age. St. Catherine of Siena, urging reforms in the fourteenth century, could say: The depth of calamity overwhelmed the Church! but added: All men may indeed, in their wickedness, wound her, but they cannot destroy her, for she bears a divine principle of life.… And no history of the Christian Church is complete that records the blemishes, and leaves unrecorded the triumphs of faith.…
— Minna MacDonald

It is absurd to speak of a number of antagonistic and mutually exclusive communions as one body in the New Testament sense.
— Fr. George John MacGillivray

Liberalism, which began as an appeal to alleged principles shared rationality against what was felt to be the tyranny of tradition, has itself been transformed into a tradition whose continuities are partly defined by the interminability of the debate over such principles.
— Alasdair MacIntyre

I made clear to him [the priest instructing him—note by John Beaumont] that my reception into the Church was not to be regarded as a conversion but as a submission, a logical surrender to an inevitable recognition of the fact that Jesus Christ had founded his Church on the rock of Peter.
— Sir Compton Mackenzie

Questions I had wanted to ask remained unput. Strangely enough, they were answered by [an Anglican] Canon in one of his addresses … vis. about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Devotion to St. Joseph, to the Sacred Heart, each of which he pointed out as being incompatible with the teaching of the Church of England. With the feeling that I wished to believe in them came, that in this case I had no business to be where I was.…
— Marianne Helena McKerlie

As I wrestle (and I will continue to wrestle) with the theological issues that have concerned me for the last twenty years—gender, sexuality, creativity, power—I desire to do so in a community which will hold me accountable, which insists that I am one member of a universal body and cannot just make it up to suit myself. I want to be answerable to both Scripture and history, just as any sane trapeze artist wants a safety net: not to stop her flying but to catch her when she falls.

I love Mary. My spirituality is increasingly Marian: grounded in the Magnificat and in the idea that what we believe of Mary, we hope for ourselves. How can I not then love a Church which holds Mary as the model of normative humanity? Which proclaims, so openly, that salvation comes into the world, in the most basic genital way, through a woman?

Next year you may be writing the obituary of someone who hurled herself off the Merrick because she thought she could fly. But I don't think so. I'm much less frightened of myself than I was ten years ago.

I don't like being in big groups of people any more. I mean, I go to Mass, but that's not exactly a cocktail party.

All Quiet on the Western Front
— Sara Maitland

Any supernatural religion that renounces its claim [to infallibility], it is clear can profess to be semi-revelation only.
— William Hurrell Mallock

What is infallibility, but revelation perpetuated…?

I believe a man might hold what he likes in the English Church if he would be quiet and uphold the Church. The dishonesty is to be honest.

In the Church of England there exists a protestant and a catholic element. Between these an unintelligible and as it seems to me a false hearted compromise. The protestant element I have believed to be the disease of the English Church; the catholic to be its only life and substance. In that catholic element I have lived and labored with an unchanging and uniform perseverance: as I believe both our agreements and our opposition will prove.

In the course of history, some forty Popes have at one time or another been expelled from Rome—nine times by Roman factions, seven times by foreign invaders. Six times the city of Rome has been held to ransom by usurpers. Twice it has been nearly destroyed. Once, it was so utterly desolate that for fifty days nothing human breathed in it, and no cry was heard but that of the foxes on the Aventine. Warfare, suffering, exile—that has been the lot of many Popes. Yet with imperishable vitality and invincible power they persist, they remain.… [Entry for Anthony Richard Ewart Rhodes]
— Cardinal Henry Manning

I have joined the religion of which the centre is the crucifixion.
— ninth Duke of Marlborough

A tree, as Our Lord said, is judged by its fruits, and the fruits of Catholicism are the saints, the martyrs, the theologians, the great Popes; and the painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, poets, novelists, film makers even (e.g., Bunuel), whose masterpieces are unimaginable without their Catholic background, so little understood in Britain since she cut herself off from this, the mainstream of western culture.
— George Ansley Martelli

When will men understand that between what is Catholic and what is anything else, there is a great gulf fixed? You have to have your bridge. Perhaps God drags you, squealing and squirming, across it. It isn't history, nor psychology, nor philosophy, nor the need for authority, nor the love for symbolism, nor any other thing created, that does it, but God does it, Christ does it, Grace does it.

The Church has always been a Teaching Body, under the full guarantee of Christ, and not a mere assembly of persons experiencing emotions however noble or hatching ideas however valuable and, in the last resort, governing themselves by these.
— Fr. C. C. Martindale, SJ

I fell back half-heartedly on the Anglican argument of the nineteenth century that—to take one example—the Assumption of the Mother of God into Heaven was not to be found in the New Testament. Half-heartedly, I write, because to argue that everything you believe must be proved from Holy Writ seems to imply that the Holy Spirit stopped work with the last word of the book of Revelation.… That particular sandcastle about the Assumption fell with a splash in Venice. One morning we sat a long time in the Church of the Frari before Titian's great altarpiece of the Assumption. It is a painting of which reproductions can never give any idea. It is not only the glow and glory of the coloring but the sheer size of it, the sweep and flow and splendor of the whole superb achievement that makes such an impression. We sat and soaked ourselves in the joy of it. When we came away I said to Mary: I believe in that picture. I did not mean that I pictured the mother of Christ standing on the corner of a cloud which she used as a ski-lift to Heaven, but that I did believe in the essential truth of what the picture expressed in visual terms. The central, the poetic, truth of that picture is joy, the joy that the Mother of Jesus felt when she put off her earthly body. She went straight to heaven and there she was blissfully united with her son. As we looked at that hymn of joy, the sandcastle of one excuse crumbled in the tide. What need was there to prove that from Holy Writ?

… [S]oon after we came back from Venice, the words suddenly formed in my mind one morning before breakfast: Why not now? I told Mary of these words as soon as I saw her and she said: Why indeed? I was think just the same.

I was a loose Anglo-Catholic. It seems to me now that this is an illogical position. How can you say you belong to the Catholic Church, an organized world-wide body, if you disown its Head and its local branches and give your adherence (when it suits you) to a body that it regards as schismatic?
— Philip Mason (Philip Woodruff)

If an Anglican holds … that Union with and submission to the Holy See is desirable, but not necessary, he is really no nearer to clearing Rome of the charge of teaching, as Truth, what is not true, than one who denies the authority of the See of Rome altogether.

Find its mother.
— Fr. Basil William Maturin

As links in the chain of my conversion, I remember when as a boy being much struck by my brother's explaining to me the verse Thou art Peter; that Catholics think their Church the voice of God or something to that effect.… I remember a sermon preached by a Protestant clergyman, in which he said that the words Do this in remembrance of Me meant Offer this sacrifice. When I was convinced of the necessity of confession and the truth of the Real Presence, it seemed to me that the Church which taught these doctrines always and everywhere was the true Church, rather than a Chruch which, like the Church of England, taught them recently and partially.
— Herbert H. May

Protestants say that Christ left His revelation in a book—the Bible—which each man is to read and interpret for himself, guided by the Holy Spirit. Catholics say that Christ instituted a teaching body—the Church—to teach mankind in His name.… The Bible is a very difficult book to understand. To understand it properly one ought to know Eastern languages, idioms, rites, and customs.… If one had to interpret the Bible for oneself, one will very probably interpret it differently from one's neighbor.… The present multitude of warring sects and different interpretations proves … that the [Protestant] theory of which it is the result cannot be the one meant by the Lord.
— Fr. Ernest Charles Messenger

If I had been a man and fat, I would have been Chesterton.

[Letter to her daughter Olivia] I don't at all allow that we have liberty to think what we happen to choose as to right and wrong. I saw, when I was very young, that a guide in morals was even more necessary than a guide in faith. It was for this I joined the Church. Other Christian societies may legislate, but the Church administers legislation. Thus she is practically indispensable. I may say that I hold the administration of morals to be of such vital importance that for its sake I accepted, and now accept, dogma in matters of faith—to the last letter. To make my preachment clearer: Right and Wrong (morals) are the most important, or the only important, things men know or can know. Everything depends on them. Christian morality is infinitely the greatest of moralities. This we know by our own sense and intellect, without other guidance. The Church administers that morality, as no other sect does or can do, by means of moral theology. The world is far from living up to the ideal, but it is the only ideal worth living up to.…
— Alice Meynell

Would your lordship then advise me, for the perishable trifles of this world, or for a wife and children, to lose my God? No, my lord, I cannot approve or embrace a counsel so disagreeable to the maxims of the Gospel.
— Blessed Ralph Milner

I tried, and tried honestly, to discover any points of similarity in things essential between the Ante-Reformation and the Post-Reformation Church, but in vain.
— Arthur Tennant Mitton

What, then, led me to take the step? It was a belief in the Visible Church, in the absolute necessity for that Church having a Visible Head, and in the irresistible evidence in favor of the supremacy of the Pope. This is all. All other questions seemed to me to depend entirely upon this one.
— Robert Sadleir Moody

I am strongly attracted by the fact that the Catholic Church is so much a church for sinners and that absolutely anyone might be in it. I have always like that aspect of going to Mass, really the whole of human creation is there. It's almost an attraction of Catholicism that so many Catholics are often so bad. On the other hand the Church of England tends to have a slightly goody goody quality, though of course there are lots of Anglicans who are very serious about their religion.
— Charles Moore

[From a letter] The impact of modern knowledge upon ancient faith could have been differently dealt with had Christendom been united. Your splitting up the unity of the West has occasioned centuries of rubbishy controversy which does not help us an atom today. The result is that we all suffer—you from disintegration and we from centralization. Not that I mean to blame your theological forebears for the evils which led them to break into schism. But at least they might have had the sense if not the grace to realize that their action led to religious disruption.
— Stanley Morison

Gentlemen, take notice, the kingdom of England will never be truly blessed until it returns to the Catholic and apostolic faith, and until its subjects are all united in one belief and live in obedience to one head, the Bishop of Rome.
— St. Henry Morse, SJ

When you begin to make a proper study of history of the Church the infallibility of the Pope is no longer a rather silly and audacious claim; it is something that you see actually working in time, in history. I began to feel that the survival of the Catholic Church was itself something of a miracle; that on the plain facts of her past there was every indication that she had some sort of supernatural support which kept her alive when she ought to have been made an end of.
— Daphne Pochin Mould

It is easy to find historical evidence that the founder of Christianity lived and died on earth about two thousand years ago. But what is astonishing is that since his death not one week has passed when the Mass has not been celebrated and the Blessed Sacrament not been administered to someone by someone in the world, somewhere in the world. It can only be interpreted as mystical evidence of the incarnation.
— Kitty Muggeridge

It was the Catholic Church's firm stand against contraception and abortion which finally made me decide to become a Catholic.
— Malcolm Muggeridge

[Heard by his daughter Rosalind] We radicals, I think, were much too drastic and made mistakes. We used to think we could keep the essence of Christianity while discarding the dogma. Now I think we were mistaken.
— Gilbert Murray

The Pagan and complete agnostic does in fact depend as wholly as the Christian on the activity of God for all he does and is, and may achieve, for his existence; the natural human good on which he concentrates is no more truly his, apart from God, than is the supernatural grace in whose reality he disbelieves. He can deny, but he cannot escape the immensity of God: If I ascend into Heaven, thou art there: If I descend into Hell, thou art present (Ps. Cxxxviii, 8).
— Rosalind Murray

It was like coming to port after a rough sea.
— Blessed John Henry Newman

It took the death of my father, when I was fourteen, to stir me into seeking reception. I needed a Savior who could deal with death by triumphing over it, and so affirm the lastingness of what deserved, by its merits, to be for eternity.…

… [M]y grounds for adhering to the communion in which I expect to die … were: clarity and certitude of doctrine; a mystical depth in worship and devotion; and a spirituality which could give one guidance, courage and consolation not only in dying but in living as well: the whole being held together in a continuity over time which joined me to the centre of all history, Jesus Christ, the Pantokrator and man of sorrows, in whom the heights and depths of strength and weakness, joy and grief, are one.
— Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP

As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as an unreasonable conversion, for faith so utterly transcends reason that it is really immaterial how it is conveyed to the mind, so that God makes use of the most diverse way for imparting the Divine illumination in accordance with the varying characteristics of each individual soul. Thus we often see that the utterance of a child, the example of a simple servant girl, or some such trivial matter, will bring conviction to a cultured understanding which has remained for years invulnerable to the keenest weapons of logic.
— Fr. Philip Mary Northcote

[From Eyewitness at Fatima] After the dancing the people began to disperse. We had risen from our knees but were still in the same place close to the road when someone said, Look! The children! They passed quite close to us at the tail of an ox-cart decorated with wild cane and green boughs, and as they passed little Jacinta turned her dark eyes in our direction. Jacinta, did you know that I, the Protestant, who hardly believed there had been a miracle, would one day do all I could to bear witness to the truth, and become one of your firmest lovers?
— Mabel Norton

Algernon Cecil once remarked that when he became a Catholic he expected to feel a certain isolation in England, but to his great surprise he found himself a member of an immense army. That army is composed, of course, not only of the great company on earth, but of the much wider communion of the Civitas Dei. My experience was of the same kind.… In England it gave a new significance to the ruins of Glastonbury and Tintern, a new meaning to Westminster Abbey itself, and even to Christmas, for modern England has forgotten that the Abbey once implied an Abbot, and the Christmas was once the Mass of Christ. It was a renaissance of the mind, in which the literature and philosophy of all ages acquired a new and vital beauty.
— Alfred Noyes

There is not a single word—deliberately or not—in any of my books which could offend the eye of a contemplative nun.
— Violet O'Connor

I saw that if Anglicanism did this [ordain women], what it was saying was, We take to ourselves the power, apart from the universal Church, to do something the rest of the universal Church will not do. In other words, we declare unilateral independence from the Catholic faith … we are no longer even claiming to be part of universal Christendom.

I told [the Anglican Bishop of Oxford] that [it] was simply untrue [that I was moving into another room in the same house]. The truth was that I had been camping out in a garden shed, some distance from the main house, and one night when the rain was pouring in and the roof leaking, I went to the main house and begged for some shelter. And they opened the door and said But of course! A room has always been ready and prepared for you. Welcome home! That was the reality.
— William Oddie

The theory that the Catholic development of Christianity is false to the original faith leaves the whole idea of the Church in ruins, and exposes Christianity to the charge of being, however pure in essence, inevitably corruptible.
— Fr. William Edwin Orchard

We honor priests, because they are the anointed of the Lord, who daily offer the Body of our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I know that it is difficult for the non-Catholic to grasp the exalted position which a priest must ever occupy in the eyes of a good Catholic. He is honored, not because of any good qualities which he may personally possess, but because of his holy office and the position which he holds in the one Church of the Redeemer.
— Commander Claude Paget

The only evidence to which the Church appeals is self-evidence. To the sane and simple mind all serviceable truth is self-evident, on being simply asserted. The Gospel of Christ is merely good news.
— Coventry Patmore

I looked with inquiring eyes at all the Churches, and although I found good and earnest men in all, helpful agencies here and there, I found only one Church whose news had a clear and certain sound, an unequivocal claim.

The book … that above all others helped to clear my intellectual difficulties, and that showed me the soundness of the Church's position, together with the Divine nature of its mission was Newman's Grammar of Assent. The grace of God did the rest.
— George Hare Patterson

At the end of that time [at Trinity College, Oxford] a course of lectures on ecclesiastical history … and a good deal of reading on cognate subjects, medieval architecture, archaeology, and especially the study of our ancient Churches in frequent excursions, brought home to me the perception of the great difference which there is between the medieval religion and that of the existing Church of England; it especially struck me as extraordinary that the outcome of the changes of the sixteenth century, which we were told to esteem as excellent and admirable, should evidently have been an immense decrease of religious belief and religious practice throughout the land.
— Bishop James Laird Patterson

But, apart from the direct leadings of God's grace and the general effect of the Imitation and Newman's writing, it may be well to specify more closely some of the arguments which weighed with me to accept the faith I had so long set at nought. First, and above all, was the overwhelming evidence for modern miracles, and the conclusions for their occurrence. A study in Pascal's life, when I was engaged in translating the Pensées, directed my special attention to the cure of Pascal's niece, of a lachrymal fistula, by the touch of the Holy Thorn, preserved at Port Royal. It is impossible to find anything of the kind better attested, and readers may judge for themselves in the narrative written by Racine, and the searching investigations by unprejudiced, and certainly not too credulous, critics, Saint-Beuve and the late Charles Bread.

Next in importance were the miracles of Lourdes, one of which, as wrought on a friend of my own, came under my notice. I do not mean, especially in the former case, that these facts prove the doctrines … but rather, that the Thorn must, from its effects, have been one that had touched the Sacred Head, that the spring at Lourdes could only have had its healing powers by the gift of God, through our Lady. It was not that miracles having been declared in the Bible made these latter occurrences possible, but that these, and in times so near our own, made the Bible miracles more credible than they were before, adding their testimony to that which the Church bears to Holy Scripture. And it was on the testimony of the living Church that I would accept Scripture, if I accepted it at all; for surely, of all absurd figments, that of a closed revelation to be its own interpreter is the most absurd.

At Beaulieu, near Loches, the end came.… I remained in conversation with the curé, who was superintending some change in the arrangements of the altar. We spoke of Tours and St. Martin, of the revived cult of the Holy Face, of M. Dupont, the holy man of Tours, whom the cur&eacute had known, and at last he said, after a word about English Protestantism, Mais Monsieur est sans doute Catholique? I was tempted to answer, à peu près, but the thought came with overwhelming force that this was a matter in which there was no lore of nicely-calculated less or more; we were Catholics or not, my interlocutor was within the fold, and I without, and if without, then against knowledge, against warning, for I recognised that my full conviction had at last gone where my heart had gone before, the sound of God had sounded in my ears, and I must perforce obey.
— Charles Kegan Paul

If you look at the history of the Church over the last 2000 years there have been major crises in every decade, major scandals, major issues of members of the Church getting it wrong and society being barbaric. Five hundred years ago the Reformation would have been seen as the end, and before that some might have thought the same in the Dark Ages. Yet the Church has always emerged as the voice of sanity. The fact that those of us today who are trying to be saints are in the minority shouldn't surprise us. Events of the world are transient and pass. Truth is eternal.
— Joseph Pearce

The problem to be faced by the modern Christian for himself or for millions of other possible Christians around him arises simply from the fact that his religion is a wholesome religion making perfect all the good natural things that God has made, whereas the society in which he lives is a vast impersonal organization of men who at heart despise the good natural things, and treat them purely as utilities for their own benefit. The modern industrial man is out of tune with the hymn of nature, and out of time with her rhythm. Being out of tune and out of time with the rest of the divine orchestra of the universe, he is necessarily unable to appreciate the value of the Conductor, who beats out a regular pulse of which the modern industrial man is quite unaware. That makes it difficult, though not of course impossible, for the divine operation of grace to seize man and make his very heart to beat with the divine pulse of supernatural love. The barriers of a false imagination and a false culture are immense—but not insuperable.
— Fr. Conrad Pepler, OP

I submit the story of Our Blessed Lord Who chose the country for His dwelling place, a country Maid for Mother, and the hills in which to pray. Whose gospel lives with images of country life—lambs (O Lamb of God), swine, oxen, asses, hens, seed-sowing, harvests, corn and barns. Who chose His first disciples, men with country crafts, and taught them in the country. But even they wavered in the town caught in the net of disbelief and doubt which was Jerusalem. And He who spent His life by farm and lake wept over the city which had killed her prophets. It is most strange that the lovers of Our Blessed Lord should think they can succeed where He Himself has failed. The modern Baptist stands by the city cesspool, but the Jordan flows between unpopulated hills—a pure baptismal water given by God to cleanse men of their lusts and usuries.
— Hilary Pepler

I saw quite clearly for the first time that, whatever the casuistry one employed, it was impossible for any normally intelligent person to believe that Cranmer and his associates had not deliberately intended to do away with the sacrifice of the Mass, the unchanging Christian sacrifice of the previous fifteen hundred years.
— J Piggins

The [Catholic] preacher, the Right Rev. Dr. Gillis, commenced by calling the attention of his congregation to the Protestant and Catholic calendars.… He then showed how every day in the Catholic calendar is dedicated to God by some pious and holy remembrance; every day the Catholic Church is open, and every day she invites her faithful children to join her, in offering to the offended majesty of heaven the all-meritorious acceptable and satisfactory sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ crucified for our redemption.…

He then turned … to the Protestant calendar: The fisheries north of the Tweed open. An announcement purely material, and interesting only to fishermen and lovers of salmon. Next, Partridge and pheasant shooting ends. Sorrowful tidings to the sportsman and the gourmand! Then, The Purification of the Blessed Virgin! Why announce a religious ceremony or feast in no way observed by their church? And why call the Virgin Blessed, when they openly abuse the Catholics for so doing?
— Fanny Maria Pittar

[Converted on 20 October 1852, in Rouen, France—John Beaumont] Every doubt is at rest, and I have found that kind of calm which one needs repose and reflection to enjoy in full. I cannot tell you how great an advantage I think it to have been able to do this out of England .
— John Hungerford Pollen

I joined the Church from two motives only: the first the authority of the Catholic Church, and the second her unity of doctrine.

The mind was convinced, but that was not sufficient. The heart had to be converted. How this miracle was effected only those will understand who have, in prayer, sought for that peace which the world cannot give.
— Very Rev. Msgr. Charles Poyer

Religion proved a closer tie than nationality.
— Edgar Prestage

I needed order, I needed logic, and in the Church of England I found neither.… I concluded that there are two reasons for becoming, or remaining, a Catholic. One is the unquestioning unintellectual confidence of the Sicilian or Irish peasant; one is the need of a strong and disciplined structure of belief, unaffected in its essentials by time or circumstances: a Rock of Ages.…

By now, attendance in a Catholic Church is often an affliction to the minority who resent the transformation of God the Father into God the Pop, while the majority look elsewhere for what the Church once had to offer.
— Alan Pryce-Jones

I learned the truths of the Catholic religion in the crypts of the old cathedrals of Europe. I sought for these truths in the modern Church of England, and found that since her separation from the centre of Catholic unity she had little truth, and no life; so without being acquainted with a single Priest, through God's mercy, I resolved to enter His Church.
— Augustus Pugin

It's quite a different category to say Look, we will study matter and we will ask how matter organizes itself into particular forms, and come up with the answer evolution. It is quite another question to ask What does matter come from to begin with? And if you like you must go outside of matter to answer that question. And then you're into philosophical categories.…
— David Quinn

There was taking place in Westminster Cathedral what I recognized as the Three Hours devotions. The bareness and desolation of the cathedral impressed me more than the words from the pulpit; but what struck me most was the unself-conscious behavior of so many people, of all social conditions, devoutly making the Way of the Cross. For me it was in striking contrast to the rationalism and prosperous congregation I had seen at the City Temple.…
— Sir Alec Walter George Randall, KCMG

As I was mentally and spiritually wrestling wondering whether I ought to become a Catholic, I opened the Bible at random. I had always been warned against this, remembering the story of the old lady who had opened the Bible at random and read Judas went and hanged himself, then turned over again and read, Go and do likewise! But then, in my room with God, I read Paul again: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism … one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4–6). Paul was leading me towards the fullness of visible unity in the Catholic Church.
— Fr. John Meredith Redford

For every Alexander VI there were a hundred good and pious Popes, whose names no one bothers to recall.… The goals of the Vatican are not those of a lay State; they are transcendental, not immanent. Its aim is to save souls, which includes the making of converts regardless of race or nationality. The care of souls, liberty to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments, above all to impart religious education to the young—this the Church aspires to—in short, to prepare man for the after-life. To obtain the best conditions for achieving this in the various nation States, of whatever political color, is its aim.
— Anthony Richard Ewart Rhodes

I found in the lives of the saints the strongest and most convincing argument for the truth of Catholicism, a quality of heroic sanctity to be found nowhere else and with an unfailing supply.
— Edward Charles Rich

[To his children] It is possible that I am a Catholic because I was brainwashed by my grandmother, to whom I was very close. My conversion to the Church of Rome was certainly not the result of any spiritual experience or independent intellectual conviction, although I have acquired a philosophical armory since then. Although my grandmother died an Anglican, she brought me up to believe that the Protestant Reformation had been gravely sinful, that the Church of Rome was the one authentic church proclaiming the true doctrine and that the Church of England was a poor, illegitimate shadow of the real thing.
— Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith

Christianity is above all others the religion that speaks of God's presence in history, not only in the past, as in creation and in the incarnation, but continuously into the present and, according to the theory of the development of doctrine akin to that of Newman, through the Church into the future.

In the seventies I picked up again the problem of Christian origins.… Examination of the early evidence and of the gospels themselves convinced me that Matthew's Gospel could not depend on Mark's and was more or less equally early (certainly before A.D. 70). Thus the full range of Christian claims must go back to the very earliest followers of Jesus, and in all probability to Jesus himself.… I could no longer delude myself that real scholarship told us that we have no evidence that Jesus himself, as well as the earliest generation of his followers, made claims for his divinity.…

Though human reason may give the command that X should be done (in the belief that X morally ought to be done), that ought to be done—rather than the mere would be rationally done—implies further authorization—and that not merely because of the inability of the human reason to determine correctly even when it determines sincerely. In justifying itself as moral rather than prudential or at best constructively rational in the Kantian sense, fallible human reason requires … some sort of external warranting.… That external can only be God, whose nature—and therefore ex hypothesi our original nature—is communicated by way of non-arbitrary commands. Insofar as practical morality provides us with obligations rather than simple appeals to our (limited) reason, it requires the justification not of an impersonal and inactive Form but of an omniscient, providential and perceptive deity.…
— Prof. John Rist

What we should seek to point out to inquirers in the present day is that the Catholic Church has all the good that is contained in the various sects outside her pale. We are High Church … We are Low Church … We are Broad Church … The Church has her conservative side … she is radical ….
— Fr. Charles Edmund Rivers

Carlyle put the matter pithily when he said, speaking of the Protestant dismissal of the principle of authority in religion, that if St. Peter came to him that night, he should say, Peter, my good Peter, you may go: we have done with you. This is the whole question in a nutshell.
— Fr. Luke Rivington

[Admitting he was a priest and a monk, adding that if he, as accused, had deceived the people,] then were our ancestors deceived by Blessed St. Augustine, the Apostle of the English, who was sent here by the Pope of Rome, St. Gregory the Great.
— St. John Roberts, OSB

It was not very long before it dawned upon me that every Anglican, of whatever school, was in reality a law to himself, and that he acted on his own authority; and then it was that the question of authority became to me the articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae, and ever afterwards I asked every one I met, By what authority dost thou believe, and doest thou these things? Sometimes, on my inquiry of this or that divine, I was referred to the Prayer-book as my authority, sometimes to the Fathers of the church, sometimes to the Primitive Church.…

[A Catholic] rests upon the authority of the Church, not his mental apprehension of it. He is a Catholic, not because he thinks he is, but because of the fact of his formal reception into the Catholic Church.…
— Right Rev. Msgr. Walter Croke Robinson

As the late Monsignor Benson shrewdly put it, the average British family will hear with equanimity of its members becoming Quakers or Buddhists or even atheists, but should any of them think of becoming Catholics, henceforward the two thieves are the only fit companions for them!

In the north transept aisle [of Hereford Cathedral] the shrine of St. Thomas, carefully pieced together again in the last century, is still standing.… But where now are the saint's relics, and where the pilgrims to his tomb? Let the continuity-mongers tell us! And where and when was the last Mass said in the great cathedral?

Be it noted, Anglican continuitarians never vouchsafe to explain when and where Blessed Thomas More, by turning Papist, changed his religion, which, in view of the fact that he was put to death for refusing to change it, is not altogether astonishing.
— Fr. Henry Edward George Rope

The trouble with the Protestant churches … was that they had turned to schism in a perfectionist zeal, subtly asserting their own righteousness in place of Christ's. One of the best reasons for joining the Catholic Church … was precisely the obvious fact that above any other it is the Church of sinners, dependent upon Christ alone as the source of that holiness exemplified in its saints, in people like Francis of Assisi or Father Damien of Molokai, or in Mary and Joseph. The fruits of the Spirit, and the scandals, are always there, as Christ said they would be.
— Fr. Anthony Ross, OP

Being a rather precocious reader as a child, I noticed that the saints, historical and legendary, whose lives I only knew through Protestant sources, were always spoken of with benevolent contempt or apology, and reading somewhere that the English Church has never produced saints but good practical citizens, any lingering belief in Anglicanism, either as an interpretation of Scripture, as a rule of life, or as a form of faith entirely disappeared from my mind.
— Robbie Ross

My interest in religion up to this time [school at Bedales] was casual and intermittent, and vitiated by a suspicion that it was an unexciting subject. [Bernard Shaw's] Preface to Androcles and the Lion killed that suspicion with a single flashing stroke.…

I fell to comparing Shakespeare with the Four Evangelists. Shakespeare's utterance is so god-like that there are times when it is difficult to remember that he was a man. The Four Evangelists in comparison with Shakespeare were quite ordinary men.… Yet the supreme creation of a unique poetic genius does not compare, in subtlety, in consistency, in majesty, even in poetic quality, with the figure which emerges from the attempts at biography of an imaginative fisherman with a sense of metaphysics, of a cultured and sympathetic doctor, of a publican and of a terse and competent reporter. The same transcendency marks the central figure in all four Gospels.…

It was [Newman] who had been the principal human agent in making me a Catholic, and, what was perhaps more difficult, in keeping me a Catholic through recurrent periods of skepticism.
— Sir John Rothenstein

Now history was my forte.
— Miss P. Rudkin

I wanted to know if there was anyone at the other end of the telephone.
Conrad Russell

If I must give a reason in a few words I will say that, starting with the belief that our Lord has established an ecclesiastical kingdom here on earth, Visible and Catholic, I came to see that it cannot be as a house divided against itself, with antagonistic forms of government; but that it is indivisible, and that its unity consists, not in identity of institutions such as an Episcopal hierarch and Sacraments (else would Donatists and others have been parts of the Church, which Anglicans themselves do not allow), but that it consists in an unity of polity and government—in a word, in the unity of a kingdom.
— Henry Patrick Russell

The more I thought about it the more I realized that from its inception the whole Anglican communion had been built on the shifting sands of political expediency, theological compromise and spiritual relativity.… I shall never lose my grateful affection for my Anglican guides and friends; but what they could not give me was a life in the Catholic Church—a house founded on the rock.
— Rev. Msgr. Canon Richard Rutt

[His constant prayer, carved on his tombstone] O my God, I thank Thee for what Thou givest, I thank Thee for what Thou withholdest, I thank Thee for what Thou withdrawest. May Thy holy and most blessed will be done in and by me and mine forever, in all circumstances and at all times forever.
— George Dudley Ryder

When innocent children were deliberately injured or starved to death, it caused some people to question their own faith, but I saw them as sharing in the sufferings of Christ. That is the only way I can answer it.
— Sue Ryder

When I was in the vortex of struggling towards submission … I came upon the following passage in Speaight's biography [of Hilaire Belloc], from a letter to Katharine Asquith: The Faith, the Catholic Church, is discovered, is recognized, triumphantly enters reality like a landfall at sea which first was thought a cloud. The nearer it is seen, the more it is real, the less imaginary: the more direct and external its voice, the more indubitable its representative character, its persona, its voice. The metaphor is not that men fall in love with it: the metaphor is that they discover home. This was what I sought. This was my need. It is the very mould of the mind, the matrix to which it corresponds in every outline the outcast and unprotected contour of the soul. It is Verlaine's Oh! Rome—oh! Mère And that not only to those who had it in childhood and have returned, but much more—and what proof!—to those who come upon it from the hills of life and say to themselves, Here is the town.
— Siegfried Sassoon

No Easter, no Christianity.
— Fr. John Saward

It is when we come to politics that we can no longer postpone or avoid the question regarding man's ultimate aim and purpose. If one believes in God one will pursue politics mindful of the eternal destiny of man and of the truths of the Gospel. However if one believes that there are no higher obligations it becomes impossible to resist the appeal of Machiavellianism—politics as the art of gaining and maintaining power so that you and your friends can order the world as they like it.
— E. F. Schumacher

Strange as it may seem, though quite natural according to the rule of Protestants, my own Bible was the occasion of my conversion. Reading the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel, and comparing it with the words of Our Blessed Lord, at the Last Supper, and then, again applying the words of St. Paul to the 1 Corinthians, xi.29, I could not reconcile the Divine Word with the rejection of the doctrine of the Real Presence.
— Fr. Edward Selle

It was not long before I began to ask what right I had to use the prayers of the Saints—prayers written by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bernard, which I found in my Anglican books of devotion—when, as I gradually learned, these Saints themselves would have utterly repudiated the Church to which I belonged.
— Adeline Sergeant

From God to Church is quite a step; but it is a logical step. The Church on earth is made up of sinful human beings—redeemed humanity is not a sinless humanity—so she does not always appear as immediately attractive.
— Brocard Sewell

I tried to be, in my youth, a happy atheist, or agnostic, but never for a moment did it work for me no matter how hard I tried. I was actually a paid-up member of the H. G. Wells Society when I was a teenager, but long before Wells got to the end of his tether I had got to mine.… I was immediately [when moving to county Wexford in Ireland in 1981], although a heathen, drawn into the community, and expected and required to take my part in it, and I could immediately see that it was the Church that held it all together, and kept it healthy and good.… At last I worked my way to the humility to admit that I do not know everything—and who am I to despise and reject the wisdom of Christendom during the last two thousand years? Have I anything better to offer? The answer is I have not. I have seen … the beastly mess that modern atheism has led the world of humans into during our lifetimes.
— John Seymour

Finally, I came—I could scarcely say how—to see the Church in a new light. I perceived that there was no need to go to history, or to disputed points of theology. The Church, if it existed at all, was a living body, and must be sought for and tested as such. It could not, on its own principles, be subject to decay; it claimed perpetual youth in virtue of our Lord's promises; it must stand or fall by what it is today.
— Fr. Alfred Boyer Sharpe

We should call a man insane who endeavored to roof in his house before he had laid the foundation or measured its dimensions; just so it is in fact when people seeking the true Church begin by attacking and trying to understand every dogma. These can never be fully understood. It is only as the house becomes built up that the roofing begins; so it is in the spiritual house of the soul. Faith leads us to the Church. Faith is, then, the foundation. As the soul grows in grace and humility, so the mysteries of godliness expand before the eye of the soul, revealing that which at one time appeared most obscure.… The great thing needed is Divine faith, and this is never found by mere arguing and reading; it is the free gift of God, to be obtained only be earnest prayer.… Get this, and then search whether Jesus Christ did establish a visible Church.
— T. H. Shaw

It was the serenity in the faces of the peasant women praying in the churches of Italy that drew me to the Church.
— Dame Edith Sitwell

Whatever may have been the case with Henry VIII (who may not have intended to go further in his repudiation of papal spiritual authority than did the Gallicans of the time), by the reign of Edward VI the King and Court were genuinely and aggressively Protestant.…
— Sir Henry Slesser

I became a Catholic … because I suppose I fell in love. It was love for the Church and especially for the Mass.
— Delia Smith

[Intervew with Malcolm Muggeridge] The reason I became a Roman Catholic is that it explained me.

In 1953 I was absorbed by the theological writings of John Henry Newman through whose influence I finally became a Roman Catholic. I tried the Church of England first, as being more natural and near to home. But I felt uneasy. It was historically too new for me to take to. When I am asked about my conversion, why I became a Catholic, I can only say that the answer is both too easy and too difficult. The simple explanation is that I felt the Roman Catholic faith corresponded to what I had always felt and known and believed. There was no blinding revelation in my case. The more difficult explanation would involve the step by step building up of a conviction; as Newman himself pointed out, when asked about his conversion, it was not a thing one could propound between the soup and the fish at a dinner party. Let them be to the trouble that I have been to, said Newman.

[To Ralph McInerny] It is the one thing that stopped me going mad.
— Dame Muriel Spark

I suddenly felt with quite overwhelming force that I wanted to become a Catholic.

The choice of the modern world, as it seemed to me, lay between Catholic transcendentalism and a purely Pragmatic materialism of which Communism was the most serious and intelligent example. To these the ecstasies of art, the quest for science, and the fastidious delights of humanism were no proper alternatives; and the Papal claims seemed strictly necessary to ensure the maintenance of true theological belief and the preservation of moral order.

T. E. Hulme was right in dismissing the aesthetic attractions of Catholicism, such as they were, and in declaring that he could swallow the décor for the sake of the dogma, not the other way around.
— Robert Speaight

I hit upon a copy, in Greek, of St. john Chrysostom on the Priesthood.… I read, and read it again. Is it possible? I thought to myself. Why, this is manifest popery. He certainly must believe in the Real Presence. I had no idea that popish errors had commenced so soon; yes, and gained deep root, too; for I saw that he wrote as of doctrine about which he expected no contradiction.
— George Spencer (Fr. Ignatius Spencer of St. Paul, CP)

The real issue between Catholics and Protestants is Authority or Private Judgment. If the Catholic Church is the living voice of God in its authoritative teaching, and the very will of God in its legislation, then difficulties of belief are at an end. The doctrines of the Church may appeal, for this or that reason, but one can only become a Catholic if these doctrines are accepted as revealed doctrines, proclaimed infallibly, though the Church advanced no other proof.
— A. J. Francis Stanton

Is it mere coincidence that in the very year, 1907, that Schoenberg began ripping the intestines out of music in his first atonal composition, Pope St. Pius X was issuing his encyclical Pascendi Gregis against Modernism?
Frederick Stocken

I owe everything in the world to my mother's prayers
— Fr. John Sullivan, SJ

We were all interested in religions of all kinds at that time [1920s], in much the same way as people at Cambridge were later interested in communism.… Chesterton and Belloc were an influence in a way. Then, of course, there was the Oxford Movement: Cardinal Manning, Newman—all, of course, starting as Church of England.
— Graham Sutherland

I discovered that this Church, accredited with superstition and idolatry, was apparently engaged in upholding the dignity of human reason in a world of chaos.
— Halliday G. Sutherland, M.D.

I used to go and hear Monsignor Capel sometimes and was much taken by the argument that the Church was a … living organism; not a … mere aggregation of particles or individuals.… [T]he statement in Newman's Anglican Difficulties … that the Catholic Church deemed the smallest venial sin as incomparably a greater evil than any physical catastrophe, immensely affected me. Certain I owe more to Newman than to any one else.…
— James Eyre Thompson

[The Anglican Church] is like whisky with three parts water. We are straight out of the bottle.

What I hold onto is something St. Augustine said, that in this life we're in the womb of Mary, in the darkness of faith. When we die she gives birth to us to the light of eternity. So in this life, just like an unborn baby the mother is carrying, everything the baby has need for its growth can only come through its mother, so everything that we need for our growth in Christ can only come through Mary. That's why the Church calls her the mediatrix of all graces.
— Fr. Hugh Simon Thwaites, SJ

It takes a fantastic will to unbelief to suppose that Jesus never really happened, and more to suppose that he did not say the things recorded of him—so incapable of being invented by anyone in the world at that time: such as before Abraham came to be I am (John xiii); He that hath seen me hath seen the Father (John ix); or the promulgation of the Blessed Sacrament in John vi: He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. We must either believe in Him and in what he said and take the consequences; or reject him and take the consequences.…

I myself am convinced by the Petrine claims, nor looking around the world does there seem much doubt which (if Christianity is true) is the true Church, the temple of the Spirit dying but living, corrupt but holy, self-reforming and re-arising. But for me that Church which the Pope is the acknowledged head on earth has a chief claim that it is the one that has (and still does) ever defend the Blessed Sacrament, and give it most honor, and put it (as Christ plainly intended) in the prime place. Feed my sheep was His last charge to St Peter; and since His words are always first to be understood literally, I suppose them to refer primarily to the Bread of Life. It was against this that the W. European revolt (or Reformation) was really launched—the blasphemous fable of the Mass—and faith/works a mere red herring.
— J. R. R. Tolkein

An Anglican, in becoming a Catholic, does not, as is often thought repudiate his baptism: he returns to that to which it admitted him.
— Jocelyn Toynbee

Why should the people of my [Anglo-Catholic] parish be taught to go to Mass on the feast of the Assumption, while the people of my neighbor's parish were taught to deny the very existence of the Mass and the Assumption?
— Thornton Trapp

[Letter to John Beaumont] A major factor in my conversion was in discovering that miracles did not stop in New Testament times but had continued in the Church right down to the present. The passage in the Gospels where Our Lord says that his followers would perform even more amazing wonders than He had Himself had always puzzled me. Now I found his words had been fulfilled and where. Catholics who play down miracles do not realize what a disservice they are doing to the Church. After all if God thinks it worthwhile to confirm our faith with miracles from time to time, why should we be embarrassed by them?
— Philip Trower

Our Lord did not choose to make a book His commissioned Teacher of mankind, for a book needs an interpreter.
— Charles F. Trusted

Much of my life has been spent traveling one way or another.… I now see that there was one recurring theme which was signficant for my spiritual journey; wherever I traveled I visited churches, private chapels, cathedrals and monasteries.… Gradually, I began to notice them.… And there they were, as they always had been: kneeling on the imported Italian marble pavement of an Australian cathedral in a gold mining town, or on rush matting in a wooden church in the Casamance in Senegal, or before the tabernacle in the ambulatory chapel of some baroque monastic church: praying quietly, or lighting candles, saying their rosary, or making the Stations of the Cross. Some were sitting patiently on benches waiting their turn to enter the confessional box. I began to be aware of something mysterious, yet powerfully attractive; and then to envy this strong assurance of Faith. For unlike me, these worshippers were in harmony with the purpose for which these buildings, and all that was in them, had been made.
— Antony Tyler (Antony Matthew)

To Cardinal Newman I always feel that, under God, I owe my very soul.

Not very long ago I was endeavoring to say Mass in the face of some difficulty, and I asked myself why I was taking so much trouble to do this thing which I had, alas, not been brought up by the traditions of my family. Without hesitation I answered my question: Because of what Christ had done nearly two thousand years ago. I desire each day to be mindful of his passion and death in the manner which he commanded. Then it came over me with overwhelming force—something which I need hardly say I knew already—how unthinkable it was that this holy rite should have lasted through all the ages, that such vast importance should have been attached to it in all parts of the world, unless Christ were in truth what he claimed to be. It is offered in memory—as a memorial of him. But of whom? Is there another memorial of any other who has passed away with which we may compare or like it? If not, once again the conclusion seems inevitable; he is not as other men.
— Fr. O. R. Vassall-Phillips, CSSR

Religio [means] to bind again … and how can you bind except by Doctrines reduced to their orthodox form and Duties explained, applied and enforced?
— Aubrey de Vere

[To the Blessed Virgin] My patroness, my mother, and my advocate with God … I consecrate myself for ever, with all that belongs to me, to thy service.
William Wilkinson Wardell

I was captivated by the notion that the magnificent architectural and decorative Baroque style, the one by which I was most excited, was embodied in the forms and ritual of an institution which survived to the present day as a continuation of the Roman Empire in the form of an absolute monarchy, the papacy. Always attracted by splendor and hierarchy, I disapproved of socialism, egalitarianism, and Protestantism which I saw as dominated by the singing of sentimentally worded Victorian hymns which I had sung daily at school. The Catholic Church, then, its pomp as one with Nineveh and Tyre, was what I wanted to be part of.
— David John Watkin

If the present Church of England could justify her opposition to Rome as heiress of the medieval Church, still how in the world could she have jurisdiction in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada?
— Right Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Watson

It has often occurred to me since I have become a Catholic, that if non-Catholics who are in earnest, and who are disposed to inquire concerning the claims of the Church, would but ask themselves the question …: What has any one of the many religious sects outside the Catholic Church got to offer that the Catholic Church does not fully and perfectly supply, and in a far more lasting and definite manner? Such a question pondered over and thoughtfully answered would lead, I think, to very excellent results.
— C. J. Watts

Conversion is like stepping across the chimney piece out of a Looking Glass world, where everything is an absurd caricature, into the real world God made; and then begins the delicious process of exploring it limitlessly.
— Evelyn Waugh

If the Pope is not the Head of the Church, neither is the King or the Queen of this realm.

If the doctrines, or rather the views, adopted by a number of the more advanced thinkers among educated and more thoughtful Nonconformists were indeed the reflected rays of Divine Truth, … then not until the nineteen century had the Word of God been made manifest—and that to the few, and not to the many.
— Fr. F. J. Norman Waugh

To put in a few words what took me many months, if not years, to grasp, I came to the conclusion that the State destroyed the old Church, and erected a brand-new one on its ruins.
— A. St. Leger Westall

With regard to the Roman Catholic Church, yes there was a special attraction in those days regarding liturgy but also regarding Unity, Holiness, Apostolicity, Universality, and Authority. Fundamentally the call to me was to be one with the Universal Church in the sense that the Catholic Church is.

I have heard some people bring up the pleas of the Development of Doctrine in regard to women priests. But, as Newman made abundantly clear, there could be no development of any doctrine which was not inherent already in some degree in Scripture or in the Apostolic era.
— Bishop Willam Gordon Wheeler

[Letter to Peter Thorp] If the Church is what she claims to be, she should be full of the most mixed, incongruous and mutually antipathetic human beings. One of the most important practical aspects of the Church is just this necessity for breaking down one's fastidiousness. It isn't hard, of course, to feel an even-Christian with whores and homosexuals, with the poor, the dirty, the ignorant and the stupid. But it is far harder to feel the same bond with the spiritual fascists, the sour old devotees, the cocksure apologists, the hearty tankard-thumping Bellocians, the pilers up of indulgences, the prurient defenders of holy purity, the complacent and the snobbish. Nearly all the intelligent, the witty, the tolerant seem to be on the other side and one looks rather wistfully over the walls sometimes, longing for them to come in; sometimes longing to go back to them.
— Antonia White

[Last words] Dear God, take me.
— Victor White, OP

[I] was amazed—no weaker word would suffice—by the overwhelming evidence in the Fathers to the truth of the Petrine claims, both as to Papal Supremacy and, more important still, the necessity of being in communion with the See of Peter.…

Traveling, more than anything else, showed me the universality of the Catholic Church—how, unlike every other religious body, it molds nations, and is only to a limited extent molded by them, and how it is the Church of every race, not merely a product of the Mediterranean.
— eigth Earl of Wicklow

I give thanks to Almighty God for the authoritarian element. To have a Church which calls sin a sin and has done with it, is a blessed relief.
— Ann Noreen Widdecombe

Catholicism is the only religion to die in.
— Oscar Wilde

I was not (thank God) converted by a strange experience. I was converted by Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Oh yes, I remember it well. I was picked up from the station on my way to a Buddhist meeting. Had I heard that outrageous comment of Ratzinger? The comment about Buddhism being a form of spiritual auto-eroticism? I had not, but Ratzinger (I explained) is a reactionary. No need to worry. That's not really what Catholics think of Buddhism.… The trouble was (unlike just about everyone else) I knew exactly what Ratzinger was talking about. He had put into words The Difference. And the difference worried me.

It is my conviction of the truth of Christianity, precisely expressed in its dogmas, that has convert me from Buddhism to Catholicism.

These three arguments made me a Catholic: God, resurrection, no convincing reason to reject Catholicism.
— Paul Williams

I felt at one with the internationalism of Roman Catholics, so much at odds with the national ethos at that time of the Church of England. But I think the main reason I chose to be and remain a Catholic lay in the claims the Church made for herself, and in the demands she made on her adherents. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; You are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. These are breathtaking claims. It seemed to me that, if I was to be a Christian, I should embrace Christianity in its strongest form. It was the huge claims and the huge demands made that drew me to the Church of Rome.
— Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby

Now that the financial and political reasons [for separating from Rome] have vanished, it is easier to discuss the matter in its correct and unemotional terms and ask your Anglican friends why they believe Queen Elizabeth II to be, as far as they are concerned, the successor of St. Peter.
— Hugh Ross Williamson

For me, the encyclical [Humanae Vitae] was proof that I could trust the Church, that it wouldn't drift with the whims of society. It wouldn't be a slave to fashion.
— Barbara Wood

[I]t remains curiously noteworthy that perhaps the biggest dissuasion keeping men from the Church is the low view they have formed of the characters which history reveals to them as having professed the Catholic Faith. This may be a natural reaction, but it is quite illogical, as though a man should deny himself something of great value because he had seen other people foolishly undervaluing it. The scandals of the Church are on the surface, the actions of men in power; and power acts by a kind of Gresham's Law, the bad driving out the good. Political scandals become the subject matter of historians, just as the peccadilloes of humbler men become the subject of official and legal inquiry, and enter historical and legal record, where the vast company of private people who have lived in and through their religion finds, from the nature of the case, neither historians nor judges. And yet it is this great silent army that is the witness to what the Catholic religion has meant to so many millions of men and women, as the light by which they have lived, in all sorts of times and places and conditions: a religion out of the Roman Palestine of the first century which is everywhere so strangely and fully adequate and everywhere so completely at home, because it is not the work of men of any one time and place but has come into human history from outside.
— (John) Douglas Woodruff

Some people seem to think that schism is an unimportant matter; such should study St. Augustine's writings against the Donatists. He shows that they might have Sacraments and the true doctrine, but being cut off from the Catholic Church by schism they could not have salvation.… Outside the Catholic Church you can have everything except salvation; you can have honor, the sacrament, you may sing Alleluia, and answer Amen; you may hold and preach the faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but nowhere except in the Catholic Church can you find salvation (St. Aug. Sermo ad Coes. Eccl. Plebem, vi.) If we consider this we see at once how absurd is the commonly received idea among Anglicans that it is wrong to attend Roman Catholic services in England, but right when we are abroad, because if the Roman Catholic Church is in schism in England, she is guilty of it everywhere, and it would therefore be a sin to communicate with her anywhere.
— Henry George Worth

Instead of the Epistles and Gospels of the first century being followed by a complete blank until the sixteenth century, classed roughly by Protestants as the Dark Ages, I found that God had His saints right through the whole Christian era, and also in every civilized country. I was surprised that there had been so many people in the world of such greatness of character, saintliness and profound humanity, compared with whom most of our Protestant reformers were but well-meaning humanitarians and that those saints were fairly evenly spread throughout the whole Christian era.… It was not until I read of a Jewish conversion to the Catholic Faith that I realized that Christianity is the extension and completion of the Mosaic law of the Jews, and that Our Lord had ordained outward ceremonies and Sacraments in His Church.
— Harold E. Wyatt

It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that Christianity is the religion of the Word made flesh. The Word's name is not only Jesus but Emmanuel, God with us, not only in Palestine nearly two thousand years ago but here and now in the sacrament of the Eucharist. This is the essential difference between Christians and Muslims. For the Christians God becomes flesh and blood, and he leaves as a token of his abiding presence with us the sacrament not of his soul or of his godhead but of his flesh and blood: for the Muslims the Word is made Book, Biblos, Bible.…

… Grace, for the Catholic, is really received not through sermons, however learned, however inspired, but through the sacraments which operate in silence.
R. C. Zaehner